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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cryptosporidium: from Disease to Molecules

Author
item Fayer, Ronald

Submitted to: International Journal for Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 12, 2002
Publication Date: August 12, 2003
Citation: FAYER, R. CRYPTOSPORIDIUM: FROM DISEASE TO MOLECULES. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR PARASITOLOGY. 2003.

Interpretive Summary: Cryptosporidium parasites were first described in 1907 but the disease of cryptosporidiosis in humans was not recognized until 1976. The onset of AIDS in the early 1980s and the massive waterborne outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in Milwaukee in 1993 brought widespread recognition of the disease and the parasites to public attention. Since that time great efforts have been made to identify the species of Cryptosporidium, determine their hosts, and trace their routes of infection. Because nearly all species appear identical using classical microscopic techniques, molecular tools have been developed to aid in detection, diagnosis, and speciation. These tools can now be applied to finding effective drugs and vaccines by exploiting the unique metabolic pathways and surface proteins of members of this genus of parasites.

Technical Abstract: Cryptosporidium muris was first described in 1907 and C. parvum in 1912 but the disease of cryptosporidiosis in food animals and humans was not recognized until 1955 and 1976, respectively. The onset of AIDS in the early 1980s and the waterborne outbreak of cryptosporidiosis involving over 400,000 people in Milwaukee in 1993 brought widespread concern of the disease and the parasites to the attention of medical, public health, and water treatment authorities as well as the general public. Since that time great efforts have been made to identify the species of Cryptosporidium, determine their hosts, and determine the epidemiology of the disease. Because nearly all species appear identical using classical microscopic examination of the oocyst stage, molecular tools were developed to determine unique gene sequences that could be used for speciation. These tools can now be applied to finding effective drugs and vaccines by exploiting the unique metabolic pathways and surface proteins of members o this genus of parasites.

Last Modified: 12/27/2014
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