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A risk assessment on Cryptosporidium parvum,
an emerging pathogen in the food and water chain in Europe
CARAFE

Contract number : QLK1-1999-00775
Contract type : Shared Cost Project
Total cost : € 2.205.170
EC contribution : € 1.323.208
Starting date : 1/02/2000
Duration : 36 Months
Scientific Officer : Antonio di Giulio
Project website : not yet available
Coordinator
Dr Geraldine Duffy
Teagasc, The National Food Centre, Dunsinea
Castleknock
15 Dublin
Ireland
Tel.: +353-1-8059500
Fax: +353-1-8059550
E-mail: g.duffy @ nfc.teagasc.ie
Background

This project will carry out research on Cryptosporidium parvum, an emerging patho-gen in water and food. The research will focus on the following areas:

  • Development of methods which can be used to isolate and detect C. parvum in food and water samples;
  • Determination of the survival and infectivity of C. parvum in food and water;
  • Development of procedures for control of C. parvum in food and water;
  • A risk assessment of C. parvum in the food and water industry
Objectives

This project will carry out research on Cryptosporidium parvum, an emerging patho-gen and will establish the risk that C. parvum poses for the food and water industry. The objectives of the project are:

  • Routine procedures will be developed for the isolation and detection of oocysts from test samples (food and water)
  • Techniques for the isolation of Cryptosporidium spp. from a range of sample types will be developed based on physical, chemical or biological processes.
  • Immunological or DNA procedures will be applied to the detection of oocysts. New monoclonal antibodies for C. parvum which are capable of detecting oocysts which have been present in the environment for long periods of time and which may have lost surface proteins (binding sites) will be developed and screened. Additional studies will investigate the application of PCR as a sensitive technique to detect low numbers of oocysts and distinguish between the different species of Cryptosporidium.
  • The survival and infectivity of C. parvum in the food and water will be determined.
  • Studies to be carried out will include inoculation studies (with C. parvum at different inoculum levels) to assess the effect of various stresses (heating, freezing, chemical preservatives etc.) on both the survival and virulence characteristic of the parasite when present in food, water or faeces.
  • Procedures for control of C. parvum in the food and water industry will be developed.
  • Research on control measures will focus on the use of a novel photocatalytic procedure for the inactivation of C. parvum in water (potable and waste water) either alone or in combination with other methods, such as filtration.
  • Disinfectant and cleaning procedures will be assessed for use within the food industry.
  • A risk assessment on C. parvum for the food and water industry
  • A risk assessment model will be developed based on hazard identification, hazard characterisation, exposure assessment, and risk characterisation. Essentially, the model will be based on the distribution and incidence of C. parvum in the water and food supply; the reduction on numbers of oocysts that any process treatment is likely to yield; the amount of contaminated water or food consumed and the percentage of exposed people who are expected to become ill. Statistical calculations on this data using deterministic, worst-case or stochastic analysis will be used to determine the risk which C. parvum poses and most importantly how this risk can be reduced by the implementation of practical control measures.
(expected) Results and achievements

It is anticipated that the project will result in the development of routine methods for the isolation, detection and typing of Cryptosporidium spp. from a range of sample types (food, water, environmental and clinical specimens). These methods will have application both in epidemiological studies (including outbreak investigation) and in inoculation studies to assess the survival of the pathogen in the food chain and in the investigation of factors that affect it's pathogenicity and virulence for humans. It is also expected that practical strategies for control of the pathogen in the food and the water industry will be developed during the course of the project. The data generated in the project will be used in the development of a risk assessment model for C. parvum in the food and water industry in Europe.


Partners

University of Southampton
School of Biological Sciences
Basset Crescent East
SO16 7PX Southampton
United Kingdom
TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute
Microbiology & Quality Management
P.O. Box 360
3700 AJ Zeist
The Netherlands
Dept. Applied Biology and Chemical Sciences
University of Ulster
Cromore Road
Coleraine, BT52 1SA
Northern Ireland
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
Danish Veterinary Laboratory
Pathology and Epidemiology
27, Bülowsvej
1790 Copenhagen V
Denmark
Laboratory of Parasitology
Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Viale Regina Elena 299
00161 Rome
Italy
Microgen Bioproducts Ltd.
1 Admiralty Way, Camberley
Surrey GU15 3DT
United Kingdom
Allied Irish Beef Processors
Ardee
CO. Louth
Department of Microbiology
Belfast City Hospital
Lisburn Road
Belfast BT9 7AB
United Kingdom



Fifth Framework Programme

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Last update

:

23-09-2003



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