Cryptosporidium outbreaks have become big news, both globally and for the recreational aquatics industry in the United States.

A recent report from the CDC revealed that from 2000 through 2014 there were 493 reported outbreaks of Cryptosporidiosis in public aquatic facilities, resulting in at least 27,219 illnesses and eight deaths. The report has generated countless, often sensational stories in news sources online, in print and on television.

The disturbing numbers are nothing new for aquatic professionals who have been fighting “Crypto” outbreaks for years. Taxonomically speaking Crypto is a member of the cyst family of microorganisms. This sometimes deadly pathogen is highly resistant to chlorine treatment and can spread rapidly once in a heavily used body of water. Crypto’s stubborn nature is arguably the main reason the CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code recommends secondary sanitation with ozone and/or UV, both of which have been proven effective in preventing outbreaks.

RELATED: Ozone Vs. Cryptosporidium: Fighting a Wave of Outbreaks

But as serious as Crypto is in recreational water, it’s an even bigger health issue on the world stage, particularly in the developing world. According to a recent report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services titled Burden of Disease From Cyrptosporidiosis, “Cryptosporidium is an emerging pathogen that disproportionately affects children in developing countries and immunocompromised individuals. Disease incidence is also increasing in industrialized countries largely as a result of outbreaks in recreational water facilities.”
 
The data is chilling: Crypto now accounts for 525,000 annual deaths worldwide and is the second-leading cause of infectious diarrhea in children under 2. Countries such as Tanzania, Nigeria, India, Ethiopia and Iran have been among those hardest hit.  
 
Fortunately, efforts to stem the tide of infectious outbreaks have been gaining momentum. For example, last February, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis formed an alliance with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance development of a drug the company is working on that could treat Cyrptosporidiosis. “There is an urgent medical need for new and effective therapeutics for Cyrptosporidiosis, particularly in vulnerable populations” said Dr. Paul Kelly of the University of Zambia School of Medicine and Tropical Gastroenterology.
 
The drug has been shown to effectively treat infections in preclinical models and is undergoing safety studies prior to clinical trials. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is reportedly providing $6.5 million to support the effort.
 
“We are committed to the fight against cryptosporidiosis and other infectious and neglected tropical diseases and are proud to work closely with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners in this effort,” said Thierry Diagana, head of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases. “Today’s global health issues cannot be solved by one organization alone. Private companies, governments, non-governmental organizations, academia, and other stakeholders need to work together to create sustainable solutions.”

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Robert Burrows 4 weeks ago
Consistent high ORP residual has also proven to be effective in treating cryptosporidium in the lab which is certainly worth pursuing further. It could very well be that crypto is actually more PPM tolerant than ORP tolerant. See A Comparison of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Virus Inactivation Using Chlorine Residual and Redox Monitoring for this study at www.techstreet.com/standards/awwa-ace941...duct_id=231021#full.
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Brian Conners 3 weeks ago
Would like more studies on ORP, vs ppm chlorine and possible uv ozone!
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Robert Burrows 3 weeks ago
Agree that this would be valuable to study and report to the industry.
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Brian Conners 3 weeks ago
Also would never pay to view a study as important as human health regarding swimming pool treatment? Where is information available from CDC?
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Robert Burrows 3 weeks ago
To my knowledge there have been no studies commissioned by either the CDC or NSPF to investigate the relationship between ORP and cryptosporidium oosyst deactivation. The study above has been available for years, but virtually ignored within the industry except by Kent Williams, the author of the AFO manual and contributor to the CPO manual as well as the founder of the now defunct Professional Pool Operators of America organization. He wrote extensively on the subject in the many papers and member newsletters that he published over the years.
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Brian Conners 4 weeks ago
The article points to a problem, and doesn't give good instructions other than uv/ozone shows promise. I have talked to owner of uv system that refers to it as snake oil! With a 25,000 gallon pool, He has seen zero effect showing no reduction in chlorine demand, and zero effect in water appearance! I know ozone is effective in small bodies of water as an extra oxadizer, but as is known, no residual ability, needs a residual sanitizer. Since uv is a spectrum of light, and ozone is binding a third o molecule, o3, with the same spectrum, why do we use, and call these different? One company does combine both in the same housing which I guess makes sense, but real world analysis is very much needed to convince me to have customers dip into their pockets so deeply!