Cryptosporidiosis is an infectious disease caused by the coccidian parasite Cryptosporidium that primarily infects the gastrointestinal tract of several animal species. In neonatal calves Cryptosporidium infection is characterized by a severe diarrhoea that determines the arrest of growth and eventually the death of the animals. During the 1980s, the number of human cases reported began to rise dramatically. Cryptosporidium is now thought to be one of the most common enteropathogen causing diarrheal illness in humans. Primarily infants, young children and immunodeficient individual are affected. In malnourished children and in immunodeficient patients Cryptosporidium infection causes a severe watery diarrhoea that may be life threatening. The absence of an effective treatment for Cryptosporidium highlight the need to understand the mode of transmission of the disease and to design effective prevention measures for reducing the risk of infection in Immunocompromized patients. Recently outbreaks of human infections in UK and USA have been attributed to water contamination by oocyst of animal origin. Although calves and lambs have been particularly suspected to be an important source of human infection, the relative importance of zoonotic and person to person contact in the mode of transmission of Cryptosporidium infection has not been fully established. The proposed concerted action has the objective to implement the following experimental activities: i) the cloning of a parasite gene that can be used as a genetic marker such as the Cryptosporidium oocyst polymorphic genes; ii) the identification of diagnostic RAPD markers; iii) the analysis of the distribution of genetic markers among parasite isolates showing distinct biological properties; and iv) the establishment of C. parvum reference isolate bank. The participant laboratories are already engaged in a fruitful collaborative research effort. The proposed action will both strengthen the existing ties and expand the scope of the interactions.
It is anticipated that the results of these studies will contribute significantly to the understanding of Cryptosporidium genetics and epidemiology.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
370 05 Ceské Budejovice