Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia duodenalis can cause severe diarrhoea in infected individuals and their transmissive stages, oocysts and cysts, are voided in large numbers with the faeces of infected hosts. Contaminated sewage effluents are recognised as a potential source of waterborne (oo)cysts. In this investigation methods optimised for the recovery of both from a range of wastewaters were used to determine the occurrence of these organisms in influents, effluents and sludges from seven sewage treatment works in England. The data indicated the presence of small numbers of oocysts both in sewage influent and effluent samples whereas cysts were detected more frequently and at higher concentrations in both influents and effluents. Whilst sludge samples from 1/5 sites contained oocysts, cysts were detected from all five sites. These investigations indicate that discharge of sewage effluents into a watercourse, which may be used for potable water abstraction, can contaminate that watercourse with potentially infectious oocysts. In addition, the application of sludge to land can be responsible for contaminating watercourses with (oo)cysts following run-off or leaching.

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