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Risk assessment of waterborne protozoa: current status and future trends

  • C. J. GIBSON (a1), C. N. HAAS (a2) and J. B. ROSE (a1)

Abstract

Throughout the past decade much research has been directed towards identifying the occurrence, epidemiology, and risks associated with waterborne protozoa. While outbreaks are continually documented, sporadic cases of disease associated with exposure to low levels of waterborne protozoa are of increasing concern. Current methodologies may not be sensitive enough to define these low levels of disease. However, risk assessment methods may be utilised to address these low level contamination events. The purpose of this article is to provide an introduction to microbial risk assessment for waterborne protozoa. Risk assessment is a useful tool for evaluating relative risks and can be used for development of policies to decrease risks. Numerous studies have been published on risk assessment methods for pathogenic protozoa including Cryptosporidium and Giardia. One common notion prevails: microbial risk assessment presents interesting complications to the traditional chemical risk assessment paradigm. Single microbial exposures (non-threshold) are capable of causing symptomatic illness unlike traditional chemical exposures, which require a threshold to be reached. Due to the lack of efficient recovery and detection methods for protozoa, we may be underestimating the occurrence, concentration and distribution of these pathogenic micro-organisms. To better utilize the tool of microbial risk assessment for risk management practices, future research should focus in the area of exposure assessment.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author. E-mail: cjgibson3@seas.marine.usf.edu

Keywords

Risk assessment of waterborne protozoa: current status and future trends

  • C. J. GIBSON (a1), C. N. HAAS (a2) and J. B. ROSE (a1)

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