Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guideline Technical Document

Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guideline Technical Document
Guidelines for
Canadian Drinking
Water Quality
Guideline Technical Document
Enteric Protozoa:
Giardia and Cryptosporidium
Health Canada is the federal department responsible for helping the people of Canada
maintain and improve their health. We assess the safety of drugs and many consumer
products, help improve the safety of food, and provide information to Canadians to help
them make healthy decisions. We provide health services to First Nations people and to
Inuit communities. We work with the provinces to ensure our health care system serves the
needs of Canadians.
Published by authority of the Minister of Health.
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document –Enteric
protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium
is available on Internet at the following address:
www.healthcanada.gc.ca
Également disponible en français sous le titre :
Recommandations pour la qualité de l’eau potable au Canada : Document technique – Les
protozoaires entériques : Giardia et Cryptosporidium
This publication can be made available on request in a variety of alternative formats.
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada,
represented by the Minister of Health, 2012
This publication may be reproduced without permission provided the source is fully
acknowledged.
Pub. number: 130029
Cat.: H129-23/2013E-PDF
ISBN: 978-1-100-21673-7
Guidelines for
Canadian Drinking
Water Quality
Guideline Technical Document
Enteric Protozoa:
Giardia and Cryptosporidium
Prepared by the
Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on
Drinking Water
of the
Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on
Health and the Environment
Health Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
January, 2012
This document may be cited as follows:
Health Canada (2012). Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical
Document — Enteric Protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Water, Air and Climate Change
Bureau, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
(Catalogue No H129-23/2013E-PDF).
The document was prepared by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water
of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Health and the Environment.
Any questions or comments on this document may be directed to:
Water, Air and Climate Change Bureau
Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch
Health Canada
269 Laurier Avenue West, Address Locator 4903D
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1A 0K9
Tel.: 613-948-2566
Fax: 613-952-2574
E-mail: [email protected]
Other Guideline Technical Documents for the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality
can be found on the following web page: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/waterquality
Table of Contents
Part I. Overview and Application ..................................................................................................... 1
1.0
Guideline .............................................................................................................................. 1
2.0
Executive summary .............................................................................................................. 1
2.1
Health effects............................................................................................................ 1
2.2
Exposure ................................................................................................................... 2
2.3
Analysis and treatment ............................................................................................. 2
2.4
Quantitative microbial risk assessment .................................................................... 3
3.0
Application of the guideline ................................................................................................. 3
Part II. Science and Technical Considerations ................................................................................. 5
4.0
Description ........................................................................................................................... 5
4.1
Giardia ..................................................................................................................... 5
4.1.1 Life cycle ..................................................................................................... 5
4.1.2 Species ......................................................................................................... 6
4.2
Cryptosporidium....................................................................................................... 7
4.2.1 Life cycle ..................................................................................................... 7
4.2.2 Species ......................................................................................................... 7
5.0
Sources and exposure ........................................................................................................... 9
5.1
Giardia ..................................................................................................................... 9
5.1.1 Sources ........................................................................................................ 9
5.1.2 Survival ...................................................................................................... 11
5.1.3 Exposure ..................................................................................................... 12
5.1.4 Waterborne illness ...................................................................................... 13
5.2
Cryptosporidium..................................................................................................... 14
5.2.1 Sources ...................................................................................................... 14
5.2.2 Survival ...................................................................................................... 16
5.2.3 Exposure ..................................................................................................... 17
5.2.4 Waterborne illness ...................................................................................... 17
5.3
Relationship to indicator organisms ....................................................................... 18
5.3.1 Treated drinking water ............................................................................... 18
5.3.2 Surface water sources ................................................................................. 19
5.3.3 Groundwater sources .................................................................................. 19
6.0
Analytical methods ............................................................................................................. 19
6.1
Sample collection ................................................................................................... 20
6.2
Sample filtration and elution .................................................................................. 20
6.3
Sample concentration and separation ..................................................................... 20
6.4
(Oo)cyst detection .................................................................................................. 21
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document
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6.5
6.6
6.4.1 Immunofluorescence assay ........................................................................ 21
6.4.2 Flow cytometry .......................................................................................... 21
6.4.3 Molecular methods ..................................................................................... 22
Recovery efficiencies ............................................................................................. 23
Assessing viability and infectivity ......................................................................... 23
6.6.1 Excystation ................................................................................................. 23
6.6.2 Fluorogenic dyes ........................................................................................ 24
6.6.3 Reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction ...................................... 24
6.6.4 Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) ................................................. 24
6.6.5 Animal infectivity assays ........................................................................... 24
6.6.6 Cell culture infectivity assays .................................................................... 25
7.0
Treatment technology ......................................................................................................... 25
7.1
Municipal scale ...................................................................................................... 26
7.1.1 Level of treatment necessary ...................................................................... 27
7.1.2 Physical removal ........................................................................................ 27
7.1.2.1 Conventional filtration ................................................................ 27
7.1.2.2 Membrane filtration..................................................................... 28
7.1.2.3 Physical log removal credits for treatment barriers .................... 29
7.1.3 Chemical disinfection ................................................................................. 29
7.1.3.1 Water quality characteristics ....................................................... 29
7.1.3.2 CT concept for disinfection ......................................................... 30
7.1.3.3 Chemical resistance ..................................................................... 31
7.1.3.4 Disinfection by-products ............................................................. 32
7.1.4 Ultraviolet light disinfection ...................................................................... 32
7.1.5 Multi-disinfectant strategy ........................................................................ 33
7.1.6 Treatment efficiency .................................................................................. 33
7.2
Residential scale ..................................................................................................... 33
8.0
Health effects...................................................................................................................... 34
8.1
Giardia ................................................................................................................... 35
8.1.1 Infection ..................................................................................................... 35
8.1.2 Pathogenesis and immune response ........................................................... 35
8.1.3 Symptoms and treatment ............................................................................ 35
8.2
Cryptosporidium..................................................................................................... 36
8.2.1 Infection ..................................................................................................... 36
8.2.2 Pathogenesis and immune response ........................................................... 36
8.2.3 Symptoms and treatment ............................................................................ 37
9.0
Risk assessment .................................................................................................................. 38
9.1
Health-based targets ............................................................................................... 39
9.2
Acceptable levels of risk ........................................................................................ 39
9.3
Quantitative microbial risk assessment approach .................................................. 40
9.3.1 Hazard identification .................................................................................. 40
9.3.2 Exposure assessment .................................................................................. 41
9.3.3 Dose–response assessment ......................................................................... 42
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document
iii
9.4
9.3.4 Risk characterization .................................................................................. 43
International considerations ................................................................................... 47
10.0
Rationale............................................................................................................................. 48
11.0
References .......................................................................................................................... 49
Appendix A: CT tables for the inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by chlorine, chlorine
dioxide, chloramine and ozone at various temperatures ................................................................ 75
Appendix B: CT tables for the inactivation of Cryptosporidium oocysts by chlorine dioxide and
ozone at various temperatures ........................................................................................................ 85
Appendix C: Other enteric waterborne protozoans of interest: Toxoplasma gondii, Cyclospora
cayetanensis and Entamoeba histolytica ........................................................................................ 86
Appendix D: QMRA model ........................................................................................................... 88
Appendix E: Selected Giardia and Cryptosporidium outbreaks related to public, semi-public and
private drinking water systems in Canada...................................................................................... 90
Appendix F: QMRA case study ..................................................................................................... 91
Appendix G: Acronyms and abbreviations .................................................................................... 97
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document
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January 2012
Enteric Protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium
Part I. Overview and Application
1.0
Guideline
Where treatment is required for enteric protozoa, the guideline for Giardia and
Cryptosporidium is a health-based treatment goal of a minimum 3 log removal and/or
inactivation of cysts and oocysts. Depending on the source water quality, a greater log removal
and/or inactivation may be required. Treatment technologies and watershed or wellhead
protection measures known to reduce the risk of waterborne illness should be implemented and
maintained if source water is subject to faecal contamination or if Giardia or Cryptosporidium
has been responsible for past waterborne outbreaks.
2.0
Executive summary
Protozoa are a diverse group of microorganisms. Most are free-living organisms that can
reside in fresh water and pose no risk to human health. Some enteric protozoa, such as Giardia
and Cryptosporidium, are pathogenic and have been associated with drinking water related
outbreaks. They may be found in water following direct or indirect contamination by the faeces
of humans or other animals. Person-to-person transmission is a common route of transmission of
both Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
Health Canada recently completed its review of the health risks associated with enteric
protozoa in drinking water. This Guideline Technical Document reviews and assesses identified
health risks associated with enteric protozoa in drinking water. It evaluates new studies and
approaches and takes into consideration the methodological limitations for the detection of
protozoa in drinking water. From this review, the guideline for protozoa in drinking water is a
health-based treatment goal of a minimum 3 log reduction of enteric protozoa.
2.1
Health effects
The health effects associated with exposure to Giardia and Cryptosporidium, like those of
other pathogens, depend upon features of the host, pathogen and environment. The host’s
immune status, the (oo)cyst’s infectivity and the degree of exposure are all key determinants of
infection and illness. Infection with Giardia or Cryptosporidium can result in both acute and
chronic health effects.
Theoretically, a single cyst of Giardia would be sufficient to cause infection. However,
studies have shown that the dose required for infection is usually more than a single cyst and is
dependent on the virulence of the particular strain. Typically, Giardia is non-invasive and results
in asymptomatic infections. Symptomatic giardiasis can result in nausea, diarrhoea (usually
sudden and explosive), anorexia, an uneasiness in the upper intestine, malaise and occasionally
low-grade fever or chills. The acute phase of the infection commonly resolves spontaneously, and
organisms generally disappear from the faeces. Some patients (e.g., children) suffer recurring
bouts of the disease, which may persist for months or years.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
As is the case for Giardia and other pathogens, a single organism of Cryptosporidium can
potentially cause infection, although studies have shown that more than one organism is generally
required. Individuals infected with Cryptosporidium are more likely to develop symptomatic
illness than those infected with Giardia. Symptoms include watery diarrhoea, cramping, nausea,
vomiting (particularly in children), low-grade fever, anorexia and dehydration. The duration of
infection depends on the condition of the immune system. Immunocompetent individuals usually
carry the infection for a maximum of 30 days. In immunocompromised individuals, infection can
be life-threatening and can persist throughout the immunosuppression period.
2.2
Exposure
Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts can survive in the environment for extended
periods of time, depending on the characteristics of the water. They have been shown to
withstand a variety of environmental stresses, including freezing and exposure to seawater.
(Oo)cysts are commonly found in Canadian source waters. The sudden and rapid influx of these
microorganisms into source waters, for which available treatment may not be sufficient or
adequate, is likely responsible for the increased risk of infection associated with transmission
through drinking water.
Giardia and Cryptosporidium are common causes of waterborne disease outbreaks;
Giardia is the most commonly reported intestinal protozoan in Canada, North America and
worldwide.
2.3
Analysis and treatment
The multi-barrier approach is the best approach to reduce enteric protozoa and other
waterborne pathogens in drinking water. Source water assessments should be part of routine
vulnerability assessments and/or sanitary surveys. They should include routine and targeted
monitoring for Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Monitoring of source water for protozoa can be
targeted by using information about sources of faecal contamination from a sanitary survey,
together with historical data on rainfall, snowmelt, river flow and turbidity, to help to identify the
conditions that are likely to lead to peak events. A method that allows for the simultaneous
detection of these protozoans is available and has been validated for surface water. Where
monitoring for Giardia and Cryptosporidium is not feasible (e.g., small supplies), (oo)cyst
concentrations can be estimated. Estimates should be based on a source water assessment along
with other water quality parameters that can provide information on the risk and/or level of faecal
contamination in the source water.
Once the source water quality has been characterized, pathogen removal targets and
effective treatment barriers can be established in order to achieve safe levels in the finished
drinking water. In general, all water supplies should be disinfected, and an adequate
concentration of disinfectant residual should be maintained throughout the distribution system at
all times. The combination of physical removal (e.g., filtration) and disinfection barriers (e.g.,
UV light) is the most effective way to reduce protozoa in drinking water, because of their
resistance to commonly used disinfectants such as chlorine. Treatment systems that rely solely on
chlorine as the treatment barrier will require large CT values to effectively inactivate Giardia. In
the case of Cryptosporidium, extremely large CT values will be required, which would prohibit
the use of chlorine for the inactivation of Cryptosporidium oocysts.
Although the absence of Escherichia coli and total coliforms does not necessarily indicate
the absence of enteric protozoa, they remain the best available indicators for verifying
microbiological drinking water quality. The application and control of a multi-barrier, source-toGuidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
tap approach, in combination with monitoring of a variety of indicators (e.g., turbidity, chlorine
residual, E. coli ), can be used to verify that the water has been adequately treated and is therefore
of an acceptable microbiological quality.
2.4
Quantitative microbial risk assessment
Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) can be used as part of a multi-barrier
approach to help provide a better understanding of risk related to a water system. QMRA uses
source water quality data, treatment barrier information and pathogen-specific characteristics to
estimate the burden of disease associated with exposure to pathogenic microorganisms in a
drinking water source. Through this assessment, variations in source water quality and treatment
performance can be evaluated for their contribution to the overall risk. Such analysis can be used
to assess the adequacy of existing control measures or the requirement for additional treatment
barriers or optimization and help establish limits for critical control points.
Specific enteric protozoa whose characteristics make them a good representative of all
similar pathogenic protozoa are considered in QMRA to select a reference protozoan. It is
assumed that controlling the reference protozoan would ensure control of all other similar
protozoa of concern. Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia have been selected as the
reference protozoa for this risk assessment because of their high prevalence rates, potential to
cause widespread disease, resistance to chlorine disinfection and the availability of a dose–
response model for each organism.
3.0
Application of the guideline
Note: Specific guidance related to the implementation of the drinking water guideline
should be obtained from the appropriate drinking water authority in the affected jurisdiction.
Exposure to Giardia and Cryptosporidium should be limited by implementing a sourceto-tap approach to protect the quality of drinking water. This approach includes assessing the
entire drinking water system, from the source water through the treatment and distribution
systems to the consumer, in order to identify risks and appropriate measures to mitigate those
risks.
Source water assessments should be part of routine vulnerability assessments and/or
sanitary surveys. They should include routine monitoring for Giardia and Cryptosporidium in
order to establish a baseline, followed by long-term targeted monitoring. Monitoring of source
water for protozoa can be targeted by using information about sources of faecal contamination
from a sanitary survey, together with historical data on rainfall, snowmelt, river flow and
turbidity, to help to identify the conditions that are likely to lead to peak events. Assessments
should also include identification of potential sources of human and animal faecal contamination
in the watershed/aquifer and potential pathways and/or events (low to high risk) by which
protozoa can make their way into the source water and affect water quality. Sources of human
faecal matter, such as sewage treatment plant effluents, sewage lagoon discharges and improperly
maintained septic systems, have the potential to be significant sources of Giardia and
Cryptosporidium. Faecal matter from agricultural animals, wildlife and other animals are also
considered an important source of Giardia and Cryptosporidium species capable of causing
illness in humans.
It is important to conduct a comprehensive assessment of groundwater sources to classify
them as either groundwater under the direct influence of surface water or groundwater considered
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
to be less vulnerable to faecal contamination (i.e., those not under the direct influence of surface
water). These assessments should include, at a minimum, a hydrogeological assessment, an
evaluation of well integrity, and a sanitary survey of activities and physical features in the area.
Groundwater considered to be less vulnerable to faecal contamination, if properly classified,
should not have protozoa present. However, even these groundwater sources will have a degree
of vulnerability and should be periodically reassessed.
Assessments of water quality need to consider the “worst-case” scenario for that source
water. For example, there may be a short period of poor source water quality following a storm.
This short-term degradation in water quality may in fact embody most of the risk in a drinking
water system. Collecting and analysing source water samples for Giardia and Cryptosporidium
can provide important information for determining the level of treatment and mitigation (risk
management) measures that should be in place to reduce the concentration of (oo)cysts to an
acceptable level. Where source water sampling and analysis for Giardia and Cryptosporidium are
not feasible (e.g., small supplies), (oo)cyst concentrations can be estimated. Estimates should
take into account information obtained from the source water assessment along with other water
quality parameters that can provide information on the risk and/or level of faecal contamination
in the source water. Because these estimates will have a high level of uncertainty, additional
factors of safety during engineering and design or upgrade of the treatment plant or a greater log
reduction than calculated using a QMRA approach should be applied in order to ensure
production of drinking water of an acceptable microbiological quality.
The information obtained from source water assessments is a key component of carrying
out site-specific risk assessments. This information should be used along with treatment and
distribution system information to help assess risks from source to tap. This document suggests
the use of QMRA as a tool that can help provide a better understanding of the water system by
evaluating the impacts of variations in source water quality and treatment process performance on
the overall risk, including the potential impact of hazardous events, such as storms,
contamination events or the failure of a treatment barrier. The resulting analysis can be used to
assess the adequacy of existing control measures, to determine the need for additional treatment
barriers or for optimization and to help establish limits for critical control points.
Where treatment is required, a minimum 3 log removal and/or inactivation of Giardia and
Cryptosporidium (oo)cysts is required. In many surface water sources, a greater log reduction
may be necessary.
Reductions can be achieved through physical removal processes, such as filtration, and/or
by inactivation processes, such as ultraviolet light disinfection. Generally, minimum treatment of
supplies derived from surface water sources or groundwater under the direct influence of surface
waters should include adequate filtration (or equivalent technologies) and disinfection. The
appropriate type and level of treatment should take into account the potential fluctuations in
water quality, including short-term water quality degradation, and variability in treatment
performance. Pilot testing or other optimization processes may be useful for determining
treatment variability. In systems with a distribution system, a disinfectant residual should be
maintained at all times.
As part of the multi-barrier approach, a variety of indicators (e.g., turbidity, chlorine
residual, E. coli) should be routinely monitored in order to verify that the water has been
adequately treated and therefore meets the health-based treatment goal. These indicators can also
be used for assessing the distribution system and to verify that the microbiological quality of the
water is being maintained through the distribution system to the consumer’s tap.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Part II. Science and Technical Considerations
4.0
Description
Protozoa are a diverse group of eukaryotic, typically unicellular, microorganisms. The
majority of protozoa are free-living organisms that can reside in fresh water and pose no risk to
human health. However, some protozoa are pathogenic to humans. These protozoa fall into two
functional groups: enteric parasites and free-living protozoa. Human infections caused by freeliving protozoa are generally the result of contact during recreational bathing (or domestic uses of
water other than drinking); as such, this group of protozoa is addressed in the Guidelines for
Canadian Recreational Water Quality (Health Canada, 2012a). Enteric protozoa, on the other
hand, have been associated with several drinking water–related outbreaks, and drinking water
serves as an important route of transmission for these organisms; as such, a discussion of enteric
protozoa is presented here.
Enteric protozoa are common parasites in the gut of humans and other mammals. They,
like enteric bacteria and viruses, can be found in water following direct or indirect contamination
by the faeces of humans or other animals. These microorganisms can be transmitted via drinking
water and have been associated with several waterborne outbreaks in North America and
elsewhere (Schuster et al., 2005; Karanis et al., 2007). The ability of this group of
microorganisms to produce (oo)cysts that are extremely resistant to environmental stresses and
conventional drinking water disinfection has facilitated their ability to spread and cause illness.
The enteric protozoa that are most often associated with waterborne disease in Canada are
Cryptosporidium and Giardia. These protozoa are commonly found in source waters: some
strains are highly pathogenic, can survive for long periods of time in the environment and are
highly resistant to chemical disinfection. Thus, they are the focus of the following discussion. A
brief description of other enteric protozoa of human health concern (i.e., Toxoplasma gondii,
Cyclospora cayetanensis and Entamoeba histolytica) is provided in Appendix C.
4.1
Giardia
Giardia is a flagellated protozoan parasite (Phylum Protozoa, Subphylum
Sarcomastigophora, Superclass Mastigophora, Class Zoomastigophora, Order Diplomonadida,
Family Hexamitidae). It was first identified in human stool by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in 1681
(Boreham et al., 1990). However, it was not recognized as a human pathogen until the 1960s,
after community outbreaks and its identification in travellers (Craun, 1986; Farthing, 1992).
4.1.1 Life cycle
Giardia inhabits the small intestines of humans and other animals. The trophozoite, or
feeding stage, lives mainly in the duodenum but is often found in the jejunum and ileum of the
small intestine. Trophozoites (9–21 µm long, 5–15 µm wide and 2–4 µm thick) have a pearshaped body with a broadly rounded anterior end, two nuclei, two slender median rods, eight
flagella in four pairs, a pair of darkly staining median bodies and a large ventral sucking disc
(cytostome). Trophozoites are normally attached to the surface of the intestinal villi, where they
are believed to feed primarily upon mucosal secretions. After detachment, the binucleate
trophozoites form cysts (encyst) and divide within the original cyst, so that four nuclei become
visible. Cysts are ovoid, 8–14 µm long by 7–10 µm wide, with two or four nuclei and visible
remnants of organelles. Environmentally stable cysts are passed out in the faeces, often in large
numbers. A complete life cycle description can be found in a review paper by Adam (2001).
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4.1.2 Species
The taxonomy of the genus Giardia is rapidly changing as emerging data on the isolation
and identification of new species and genotypes, strain phylogeny and host specificity become
available. The current taxonomy of the genus Giardia is based on the species definition proposed
by Filice (1952), who defined three species: G. duodenalis (syn. G. intestinalis, G. lamblia), G.
muris and G. agilis, based on the shape of the median body, an organelle composed of
microtubules that is most easily observed in the trophozoite. Other species have subsequently
been described on the basis of cyst morphology and molecular analysis. Currently, six Giardia
species are recognized (Table 1) (Thompson, 2004; Thompson and Monis, 2004). These six
species have been reported from mammals, birds, rodents and amphibians and are not easily
distinguished. Their host preferences have been widely debated—except for G. agilis, which is
morphologically different, has been reported only from amphibians and is not regarded as
infective to humans (Adam, 1991).
Table 1. Giardia species
Species (assemblage)
G. agilis
G. ardea
G. lamblia (A)
G. lamblia (B)
G. lamblia (C)
G. lamblia (D)
G. lamblia (E)
G. lamblia (F)
G. lamblia (G)
G. microti
G. muris
G. psittaci
Major host(s)
Amphibians
Birds
Humans, livestock, other mammals
Humans
Dogs
Dogs
Cattle, other hoofed livestock
Cats
Rats
Muskrats, voles
Rodents
Birds
The name G. lamblia is commonly applied to isolates from humans, although this species is
capable of infecting a wide range of mammals. Molecular characterization of this species has
demonstrated the existence of genetically distinct assemblages: assemblages A and B infect
humans and other mammals, whereas the remaining assemblages C, D, E, F and G have not yet
been isolated from humans and appear to have restricted host ranges (and likely represent
different species or groupings) (Table 1) (Adam, 2001; Thompson, 2004; Thompson and Monis,
2004; Xiao et al., 2004; Smith et al., 2007). In addition to genetic dissimilarities, these variants
also exhibit phenotypic differences, including differential growth rates and drug sensitivities
(Homan and Mank, 2001; Read et al., 2002). These genetic differences have been exploited as a
means of distinguishing human-infective Giardia from other strains or species (Amar et al.,
2002; Cacciò et al., 2002; Read et al., 2004); however, the applicability of these methods to
analysis of Giardia within water has been limited (see Section 6.6). Thus, at present, it is
necessary to consider that any Giardia cysts found in water are potentially infectious to humans.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
4.2
Cryptosporidium
Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite (Phylum Apicomplexa, Class Sporozoasida,
Subclass Coccodiasina, Order Eucoccidiorida, Suborder Eimeriorina, Family Cryptosporidiidae)
that was first recognized as a potential human pathogen in 1976 in a previously healthy 3-yearold child (Nime et al., 1976). A second case of cryptosporidiosis occurred 2 months later in an
individual who was immunosuppressed as a result of drug therapy (Meisel et al., 1976). The
disease became best known in immunosuppressed individuals exhibiting the symptoms now
referred to as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS (Hunter and Nichols, 2002).
4.2.1 Life cycle
The recognition of Cryptosporidium as a human pathogen led to increased research into
the life cycle of the parasite and an investigation of the possible routes of transmission.
Cryptosporidium has a multi-stage life cycle, typical of an enteric coccidian. The entire life cycle
takes place in a single host and evolves in six major stages: 1) excystation, where sporozoites are
released from an excysting oocyst; 2) schizogony (syn. merogony), where asexual reproduction
takes place; 3) gametogony, the stage at which gametes are formed; 4) fertilization of the
macrogametocyte by a microgamete to form a zygote; 5) oocyst wall formation; and 6)
sporogony, where sporozoites form within the oocyst (Current, 1986). A complete life cycle
description and diagram can be found in a review paper by Smith and Rose (1990). Syzygy, a
sexual reproduction process that involves association of the pre-gametes end to end or laterally
prior to the formation of gametes, was recently described in two species of Cryptosporidium, C.
parvum and C. andersoni, providing new information regarding Cryptosporidium’s biology (life
cycle) and transmission (Hijjawi et al., 2002; Rosales et al., 2005).
As a waterborne pathogen, the most important stage in Cryptosporidium’s life cycle is the
round, thick-walled, environmentally stable oocyst, 4–6 µm in diameter. There is sometimes a
visible external suture line, and the nuclei of sporozoites can be stained with fluorogenic dyes
such as 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI). Upon ingestion by humans, the parasite
completes its life cycle in the digestive tract. Ingestion initiates excystation of the oocyst and
releases four sporozoites, which adhere to and invade the enterocytes of the gastrointestinal tract
(Spano et al., 1998a; Pollok et al., 2003). The resulting parasitic vacuole contains a feeding
organelle along with the parasite, which is protected by an outer membrane. The outer membrane
is derived from the host cell (intracellular). The sporozoite undergoes asexual reproduction
(schizogony), releasing merozoites that spread the infection to neighbouring cells. Sexual
multiplication (gametogony) then takes place, producing either microgametes (“male”) or
macrogametes (“female”). Microgametes are then released to fertilize macrogametes and form
zygotes. A small proportion (20%) of zygotes fail to develop a cell wall and are termed “thinwalled” oocysts. These forms rupture after the development of the sporozoites, but prior to faecal
passage, thus maintaining the infection within the host. The majority of the zygotes develop a
thick, environmentally resistant cell wall and four sporozoites to become mature oocysts, which
are then passed in the faeces.
4.2.2 Species
Our understanding of the taxonomy of the genus Cryptosporidium is continually being
updated. Cryptosporidium was first described by Tyzzer (1907), when he isolated the organism,
which he named Cryptosporidium muris, from the gastric glands of mice. Tyzzer (1912) found a
second isolate, which he named C. parvum, in the intestine of the same species of mice. This
isolate was considered to be structurally and developmentally distinct by Upton and Current
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(1985). Although numerous species names have been proposed based on the identity of the host,
most isolates of Cryptosporidium from mammals, including humans, are similar to C. parvum as
described by Tyzzer (1907, 1912). At present, 20 valid species have been recognized (Table 2)
(Egyed et al., 2003; Thompson and Monis, 2004; Xiao et al., 2004; Fayer et al., 2008; Jirků et al.,
2008; Power and Ryan, 2008; Ryan et al., 2008).
Table 2. Cryptosporidium species
Species (genotype)
C. andersoni
C. baileyi
C. bovis
C. canis
C. fayeri
C. felis
C. frageli
C. galli
C. hominis (genotype H, I or 1)
C. macropodum
C. meleagridis
C. molnari
C. muris
C. parvum (genotype C, II or 2)
C. ryanae
C. scophithalmi
C. serpentis
C. suis
C. varanii
C. wrairi
Major host
Cattle
Poultry
Cattle
Dogs
Red kangaroos
Cats
Toads
Finches, chickens
Humans, monkeys
Eastern grey kangaroos
Turkeys, humans
Fish
Rodents
Cattle, other ruminants, humans
Cattle
Fish
Reptiles
Pigs
Lizards
Guinea-pigs
With the advent of molecular techniques, several genotypes of Cryptosporidium have
been proposed among various animal groups, including rodents, marsupials, reptiles, wild birds
and primates, and research suggests that these genotypes vary with respect to their development,
drug sensitivity and disease presentation (Chalmers et al., 2002; Xiao and Lal, 2002; Thompson
and Monis, 2004; Xiao et al., 2004). To date, over 40 genotypes have been identified (Fayer,
2004; Xiao et al., 2004; Feng et al., 2007; Fayer and Xiao, 2008; Fayer et al., 2008). The
molecular analysis of C. parvum human and bovine isolates, linked to human cryptosporidiosis
outbreaks, indicates the existence of two predominantly distinct genotypes in humans (Morgan et
al., 1997; Peng et al., 1997; Spano et al., 1998b; Sulaiman et al., 1998; Widmer et al., 1998;
Awad-El-Kariem, 1999; Ong et al., 1999; Cacciò et al., 2000; McLauchlin et al., 2000; Xiao et
al., 2001). Genotype 1 (syn. genotype I, genotype H and C. hominis) isolates are limited, for the
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
most part, to humans, whereas genotype 2 (syn. genotype II and genotype C) isolates are zoonotic
and have been reported in calves and other ruminants/ungulates, mice and humans. Genotype 1
was subsequently recognized as a new species, C. hominis (Morgan-Ryan et al., 2002). Further
studies have identified additional genotypes in humans. Pieniazek et al. (1999) identified two
novel Cryptosporidium genotypes, similar to a dog and a cat genotype, in persons infected with
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Two new Cryptosporidium genotypes have been
identified in humans, one similar to a cervine (deer) isolate (Ong et al., 2002) and a not-yetidentified genotype (i.e., not been previously identified in humans or other animals) (Wong and
Ong, 2006). These findings have important implications for communities whose source water
may be contaminated by faeces from wildlife. The epidemiological significance of these
genotypes is still unclear, but findings suggest that certain genotypes are adapted to humans and
transmitted (directly or indirectly) from person to person. Numerous other Cryptosporidium
genotypes, for which a strain designation has not been made, have also been identified (Feng et
al., 2007; Smith et al., 2007; Fayer et al., 2008; Xiao and Fayer, 2008).
5.0
Sources and exposure
5.1
Giardia
5.1.1 Sources
Human and other animal faeces, especially cattle faeces, are major sources of Giardia.
Giardiasis has been shown to be endemic in humans and in over 40 other species of animals, with
prevalence rates ranging from 1% to 100% (Olson et al., 2004; Pond et al., 2004; Thompson,
2004; Thompson and Monis, 2004). Table 3 summarizes the prevalence of Giardia among
humans and selected livestock animals and highlights the relatively high levels of giardiasis in
cattle. Giardia cysts are excreted in large numbers in the faeces of infected humans and other
animals (both symptomatic and asymptomatic). Infected cattle, for example, have been shown to
excrete up to one million (106) cysts per gram of faeces (O’Handley et al., 1999; Ralston et al.,
2003; O’Handley and Olson, 2006). Cysts are easily disseminated in the environment and are
transmissible via the faecal–oral route. Beaver, dog, muskrat and horse faeces are also sources of
Giardia, including human-source G.lamblia (Davies and Hibler, 1979; Hewlett et al., 1982;
Erlandsen and Bemrick, 1988; Erlandsen et al., 1988; Traub et al., 2004, 2005; Eligio-García et
al., 2005). Giardia can also be found in bear, bird, cat and other animal faeces, but it is unclear
whether these strains are pathogenic to humans (refer to Section 5.1.3).
Table 3. Prevalence of Giardia in humans and selected animalsa
Species
Prevalence (%)
Humans
1–5
Cattle
10–100
Pigs
1–20
a
Adapted from Pond et al. (2004).
Giardia cysts are commonly found in sewage and surface waters and occasionally in
drinking water. In a cross-Canada survey of 72 municipalities performed between 1991 and 1995,
Wallis et al. (1996) found that 72.6%, 21% and 18.2% of raw sewage, raw water and treated
water samples, respectively, contained Giardia cysts. Table 4 highlights a selection of studies
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
that have investigated the occurrence of Giardia in surface waters in Canada. Typically, Giardia
concentrations in surface waters ranged from 2 to 200 cysts/100 L. Concentrations as high as
8700 cysts/100 L were reported and were associated with record spring runoff, highlighting the
importance of event-based sampling (see Section 7.0; Gammie et al., 2000). The typical range
reported above is at the lower end of that described in an international review (Dechesne and
Soyeux, 2007). Dechesne and Soyeux (2007) found that Giardia concentrations in source waters
across North America and Europe ranged from 0.02 to 100 cysts/L, with the highest levels
reported in the Netherlands. Source water quality monitoring data were also gathered for nine
European (France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom) water sources
and one Australian source. Overall, Giardia was frequently detected at relatively low
concentrations, and levels ranged from 0.01 to 40 cysts/L. An earlier survey by Medema et al.
(2003) revealed that concentrations of cysts in raw and treated domestic wastewater (i.e.,
secondary effluent) typically ranged from 5000 to 50 000 cysts/L and from 50 to 500 cysts/L,
respectively.
Table 4. Occurrence of Giardia in surface watersa in Canadab
Giardia
concentration
(cysts/100 L)c
Province Site/watershed Unit of measure
Alberta
Not available
Single sample
Alberta
North
Saskatchewan
River, Edmonton
Annual geometric
mean
8–193
Maximum
2500d
North
Saskatchewan
River, Edmonton
Annual geometric
mean
Alberta
British
Columbia
Black Mountain
Irrigation District
Vernon Irrigation
District
Black Mountain
Irrigation District
Vernon Irrigation
District
British
Columbia
Maximum
Geometric mean
LeChevallier et al., 1991a
Gammie et al., 2000
EPCOR, 2005
8700
Ong et al., 1996
3.8
4.6–1880
Range
2-114
3.2
Average
3.8
Seymour
8.0
Maximum
Coquitlam
Metro Vancouver, 2009
6.3
Coquitlam
Capilano
Ontario
98
60.4
Seymour
Capilano
494
Reference
20.0
12.0
Grand River
Median
71
Grand River
Maximum
486
Van Dyke et al., 2006
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Province
Site/watershed
Unit of measure
Ontario
Ottawa River
Average
Quebec
a
b
c
d
Reference
16.8
Douglas, 2009
ROS Water
Treatment Plant,
Thousand Islands
River, Montreal
1376
Payment and Franco,
1993
STE Water
Treatment Plant,
Thousand Islands
River, Montreal
336
Geometric mean
7.23
REP Water
Treatment Plant,
Assomption
River, Montreal
Quebec
Giardia
concentration
(cysts/100 L)c
Saint Lawrence
River
Geometric mean
200
Payment et al., 2000
The occurrence of Giardia in groundwaters in Canada has not been studied.
It is important to consider that the sampling and analysis methods employed in these studies varied, and, as such, it
may not be appropriate to compare cyst concentrations. It is also important to consider that the viability and
infectivity of cysts were rarely assessed; as such, little information is available regarding the potential risk to
human health associated with the presence of Giardia in these samples.
Units were standardized to cysts/100 L. However, the text references concentrations/units as they were reported in
the literature.
Associated with heavy spring runoff.
Treated water in Canada is rarely tested for the presence of Giardia. When testing has
been conducted, cysts are typically not present or are present in very low numbers (Payment and
Franco, 1993; Ong et al., 1996; Wallis et al., 1996, 1998; EPCOR, 2005; Douglas, 2009), with
some exceptions. In 1997, a heavy spring runoff event in Edmonton, Alberta, resulted in the
presence of 34 cysts/1000 L in treated water (Gammie et al., 2000). Cysts have also been detected
in treated water derived from unfiltered surface water supplies (Payment and Franco, 1993;
Wallis et al., 1996).
5.1.2 Survival
Giardia cysts can survive in the environment for extended periods of time. Survival in
water can range from weeks to months (or possibly longer), depending on a number of factors,
including the characteristics specific to the strain and of the water, such as temperature. The
effect of temperature on survival rates of Giardia has been well studied. In general, as the
temperature increases, the survival time decreases. For example, Bingham et al. (1979) observed
that Giardia cysts can survive up to 77 days in tap water at 8°C, compared with 4 days at 37°C.
DeRegnier et al. (1989) reported a similar effect in river and lake water. This temperature effect
is, in part, responsible for peak Giardia prevalences reported in winter months (Isaac-Renton et
al., 1996; Ong et al., 1996). Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light will also shorten the survival time
of Giardia. A detailed discussion of the effects of UV light on Giardia is provided in Section
7.1.4.
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It is commonly assumed that the viability of Giardia cysts found in water is high, but
monitoring experience suggests otherwise. Cysts found in surface waters are often dead, as
shown by propidium iodide (PI) dye exclusion (Wallis et al., 1995). Observations by
LeChevallier et al. (1991b) also suggest that most of the cysts present in water are non-viable; 40
of 46 cysts isolated from drinking water exhibited “non-viable-type” morphologies (i.e., distorted
or shrunken cytoplasm). Studies have frequently revealed the presence of empty cysts (“ghosts”),
particularly in sewage.
5.1.3 Exposure
Person-to-person transmission is by far the most common route of transmission of
Giardia (Pond et al., 2004; Thompson, 2004). Persons become infected via the faecal–oral route,
either directly (i.e., contact with faeces from a contaminated person, such as children in daycare
facilities) or indirectly (i.e., ingestion of contaminated drinking water, recreational water and, to a
lesser extent, food). Animals may also play an important role in the (zoonotic) transmission of
Giardia, although it is not clear to what extent. Cattle have been found to harbour humaninfective (assemblage A) Giardia, as have dogs and cats. Assemblage A Giardia genotypes have
also been detected in wildlife, including beavers and deer.
Although there is some evidence to support the zoonotic transmission of Giardia, most of
this evidence is circumstantial or compromised by inadequate controls. Thus, it is not clear how
frequently zoonotic transmission occurs or under what circumstances. Overall, these data suggest
that, in most cases, animals are not the original source of human-infective Giardia, but may
amplify zoonotic genotypes present in other sources (e.g., contaminated water). In cattle, for
example, the livestock Giardia genotype (assemblage E) predominates; however, cattle are
susceptible to infection with human-infective (zoonotic) genotypes of Giardia. It is likely that
cattle acquire zoonotic genotypes of Giardia from their handlers and/or from contaminated water
sources. Given that calves infected with Giardia commonly shed between 105 and 106 cysts per
gram of faeces, they could play an important role in the transmission of Giardia.
The role that wildlife plays in the zoonotic transmission of Giardia is also unclear.
Although wildlife, including beavers, can become infected with human-source G. lamblia
(Davies and Hibler, 1979; Hewlett et al., 1982; Erlandsen and Bemrick, 1988; Erlandsen et al.,
1988; Traub et al., 2004, 2005; Eligio-García et al., 2005) and have been associated with
waterborne outbreaks of giardiasis (Kirner et al., 1978; Lopez et al., 1980; Lippy, 1981; IsaacRenton et al., 1993), the epidemiological and molecular data do not support zoonotic
transmission via wildlife as a significant risk for human infections (Hoque et al., 2003; Stuart et
al., 2003; Berrilli et al., 2004; Thompson, 2004; Hunter and Thompson, 2005; Ryan et al.,
2005a). The data do, however, suggest that wildlife acquire human-infective genotypes of
Giardia from sources contaminated by human sewage. As population pressures increase and as
more human-related activity occurs in watersheds, the potential for faecal contamination of
source waters becomes greater, and the possibility of contamination with human sewage must
always be considered. Erlandsen and Bemrick (1988) concluded that Giardia cysts in water may
be derived from multiple sources and that epidemiological studies that focus on beavers may be
missing important sources of cyst contamination. Some waterborne outbreaks have been traced
back to human sewage contamination (Wallis et al., 1998). Ongerth et al. (1995) showed that
there is a statistically significant relationship between increased human use of water for domestic
and recreational purposes and the prevalence of Giardia in animals and surface water. It is known
that beaver and muskrat can be infected with human-source Giardia (Erlandsen et al., 1988), and
these animals are frequently exposed to raw or partially treated sewage in Canada. The
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
application of genotyping procedures has provided further proof of this linkage. Thus, it is likely
that wildlife and other animals can act as a reservoir of human-infective Giardia from sewagecontaminated water and, in turn, amplify concentrations of Giardia cysts in water. If infected
animals live upstream and/or in close proximity to drinking water treatment plant intakes, then
they could play an important role in the waterborne transmission of Giardia. Thus, watershed
management, to control both sewage inputs and the populations of aquatic mammals in the
vicinity of water intakes, is important to disease prevention.
As is the case for livestock and wildlife animals, it is unclear what role domestic animals
play in the zoonotic transmission of Giardia. Although dogs and cats are susceptible to infection
with zoonotic genotypes of Giardia, few studies have provided direct evidence of transmission
between them and humans (Eligio-García et al., 2005; Shukla et al., 2006; Thompson et al.,
2008).
5.1.4 Waterborne illness
Giardia is the most commonly reported intestinal protozoan in North America and
worldwide (Farthing, 1989; Adam, 1991). The World Health Organization (WHO, 1996)
estimates its worldwide incidence at 200 million cases per year. In Canada, just over 4000
confirmed cases of giardiasis were reported in 2004. This represents a significant decline from
the 9543 cases that were reported in 1989. Incidence rates have similarly declined over this
period (from 34.98 to 13.08 cases per 100 000 persons) (PHAC, 2007).
Giardia is a common cause of waterborne infectious disease outbreaks in Canada and
elsewhere (Hrudey and Hrudey, 2004). Between 1974 and 2001, Giardia was the most
commonly reported causative agent associated with infectious disease outbreaks related to
drinking water in Canada (Schuster et al., 2005). Giardia was linked to 51 of the 138 outbreaks
for which causative agents were identified. The majority (38/51; 75%) of these Giardia outbreaks
were associated with public drinking water systems; a selection of these outbreaks can be found
in Appendix E. Contamination of source waters from human sewage and inadequate treatment
(e.g., poor or no filtration, relying solely on chlorination) appear to have been major contributing
factors (Schuster et al., 2005). Most of these outbreaks could have been prevented through the
adoption and implementation of adequate source water protection strategies (e.g., wastewater
management) and appropriate treatment based on source water characterization. No outbreaks
have been reported since 2001. This is in large part due to the lessons that were learned by all
Canadian jurisdictions following the Walkerton and North Battleford contamination events and
recommendations from their subsequent inquiries. Comprehensive approaches, including source
water protection strategies, were adopted by provinces and territories based on the source-to-tap
approach developed collaboratively by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment
and the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water (CCME, 2004).
In the United States, outbreaks have been reported in 48 states (Craun, 1979; Lin, 1985;
Moore et al., 1993; Jakubowski, 1994; CDC, 2004; Craun et al., 2010). Giardia was the most
frequently identified etiological agent associated with waterborne outbreaks in the United States
between 1971 and 2006, accounting for 16% of outbreaks (Craun et al., 2010). In a worldwide
review of waterborne protozoan outbreaks, G. lamblia accounted for 40.6% of the 325 outbreaks
reported between 1954 and 2002 (Karanis et al., 2007). The largest reported Giardia drinking
water–related outbreak occurred in 2004, in Norway (Robertson et al., 2006).
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
5.2
Cryptosporidium
5.2.1 Sources
Humans and other animals, especially cattle, are important reservoirs for
Cryptosporidium. Human cryptosporidiosis has been reported in more than 90 countries over six
continents (Fayer et al., 2000; Dillingham et al., 2002). Reported prevalence rates of human
cryptosporidiosis range from 1% to 20% (Table 5), with higher rates reported in developing
countries (Caprioli et al., 1989; Zu et al., 1992; Mølbak et al., 1993; Nimri and Batchoun, 1994;
Dillingham et al., 2002; Cacciò and Pozio, 2006). Livestock, especially cattle, are a significant
source of C. parvum (Table 5). In a survey of Canadian farm animals, Cryptosporidium was
detected in faecal samples from cattle (20%), sheep (24%), hogs (11%) and horses (17%) (Olson
et al., 1997). Oocysts were more prevalent in calves than in adult animals; conversely, they were
more prevalent in mature pigs and horses than in young animals. Infected calves can excrete up to
107 oocysts per gram of faeces (Smith and Rose, 1990) and represent an important source of
Cryptosporidium in surface waters (refer to Section 5.2.2). Wild ungulates (hoofed animals) and
rodents are not a significant source of human-infectious Cryptosporidium (Roach et al., 1993;
Ong et al., 1996).
Table 5. Prevalence of Cryptosporidium spp. in humans and selected animalsa
Species
Prevalence (%)
Humans
1–20
Cattle
1–100
Pigs
1–10
a
Adapted from Pond et al. (2004).
Oocysts are easily disseminated in the environment and are transmissible via the faecal–
oral route. Person-to-person transmission is one of the most common routes of transmission of
Cryptosporidium. Contaminated drinking water, recreational water and food are also important
mechanisms for transmission of Cryptosporidium. Contact with animals, especially livestock,
also appears to be a major pathway for transmission. A more detailed discussion of zoonotic
transmission is provided in Section 5.2.3.
Cryptosporidium oocysts are commonly found in sewage and surface waters and
occasionally in treated water. In a cross-Canada survey of 72 municipalities performed between
1991 and 1995, Wallis et al. (1996) found that 6.1%, 4.5% and 3.5% of raw sewage, raw water
and treated water samples, respectively, contained Cryptosporidium oocysts. Table 6 highlights a
selection of studies that have investigated the occurrence of Cryptosporidium in surface waters in
Canada. Typically, Cryptosporidium concentrations in surface waters ranged from 1 to 100
oocysts/100 L. Concentrations as high as 10 300 cysts/100 L were reported and were associated
with a record spring runoff, highlighting the importance of event-based sampling (see Section
7.0) (Gammie et al., 2000).
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Table 6. Occurrence of Cryptosporidium in surface watersa in Canadab
Cryptosporidium
concentration
Province Site/watershed Unit of measure
(oocysts/100 L) c
Alberta
Not available
Single sample
Alberta
North
Saskatchewan
River, Edmonton
Annual geometric
mean
North
Saskatchewan
River, Edmonton
Annual geometric
mean
9
Maximum
69
Alberta
British
Columbia
Black Mountain
Irrigation District
Vernon Irrigation
District
Black Mountain
Irrigation District
Vernon Irrigation
District
British
Columbia
Maximum
6–83
Gammie et al., 2000
10 300d
EPCOR, 2005
Ong et al., 1996
9.2
Range
4.8-51.4
0.0
Average
2.0
Seymour
0.0
Maximum
Coquitlam
Metro Vancouver, 2009
2.4
Coquitlam
Capilano
Ontario
LeChevallier et al.,
1991a
1.7–44.3
Seymour
Capilano
34
3.5
Geometric mean
Reference
4.0
2.0
Grand River
Median
15
Grand River
Maximum
186
Ontario
Ottawa River
Average
6.2
Douglas, 2009
Quebec
ROS Water
Treatment Plant,
Thousand Islands
River, Montreal
742
Payment and Franco,
1993
STE Water
Treatment Plant,
Thousand Islands
River, Montreal
<2
REP Water
Treatment Plant,
Assomption
River, Montreal
Van Dyke et al., 2006
Geometric mean
<2
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
a
b
c
d
Province
Site/watershed
Unit of measure
Quebec
Saint Lawrence
River
Geometric mean
Cryptosporidium
concentration
(oocysts/100 L) c
14
Reference
Payment et al., 2000
The occurrence of Cryptosporidium in groundwaters in Canada has not been studied.
It is important to consider that the sampling and analysis methods employed in these studies varied, and, as such, it
may not be appropriate to compare oocyst concentrations. It is also important to consider that the viability and
infectivity of oocysts were rarely assessed; as such, little information is available regarding the potential risk to
human health associated with the presence of Cryptosporidium in these samples.
Units were standardized to oocysts/100 L. However, the text references concentrations/units as they were reported
in the literature.
Associated with heavy spring runoff.
An international review of source water quality data demonstrated that concentrations of
Cryptosporidium in source waters across North America and Europe vary greatly (Dechesne and
Soyeux, 2007). Cryptosporidium concentrations ranged from 0.006 to 250 oocysts/L. As part of
this initiative, source water quality monitoring data were gathered for nine European (France,
Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom) water sources and one Australian
source. Overall, Cryptosporidium was frequently detected at relatively low concentrations, and
levels ranged from 0.05 to 4.6 oocysts/L. In an earlier survey, Medema et al. (2003) reported
concentrations of oocysts in raw and treated domestic wastewater (i.e., secondary effluent)
ranging from 1000 to 10 000 oocysts/L and from 10 to 1000 oocysts/L, respectively.
Little is known about the occurrence of Cryptosporidium in groundwaters in Canada.
Studies in the Unites States and elsewhere have reported the presence of oocysts in groundwaters,
although at low frequencies, and at low concentrations (Hancock et al., 1998; Moulton-Hancock
et al., 2000; Gaut et al., 2008).
The presence of Cryptosporidium in treated water in Canada is rarely assessed. When
testing has been conducted, oocysts are typically not present or are present in very low numbers
(Payment and Franco, 1993; Ong et al., 1996; Wallis et al., 1996; EPCOR, 2005; Douglas, 2009),
with some exceptions (Gammie et al., 2000). Oocysts have been detected in treated water derived
from unfiltered surface water supplies (Wallis et al., 1996) and after extreme contamination
events. For example, in 1997, a heavy spring runoff event in Edmonton, Alberta, resulted in the
presence of 80 oocysts/1000 L in treated water (Gammie et al., 2000).
5.2.2 Survival
Cryptosporidium oocysts have been shown to survive in cold waters (4°C) in the
laboratory for up to 18 months (AWWA, 1988). Robertson et al. (1992) reported that C. parvum
oocysts could withstand a variety of environmental stresses, including freezing (viability greatly
reduced) and exposure to seawater. In general, oocyst survival time decreases as temperature
increases (Pokorny et al., 2002; Li et al., 2010).
Although it is commonly assumed that the majority of oocysts in water are viable,
monitoring experience suggests otherwise. Smith et al. (1993) found that oocyst viability in
surface waters is often very low. A more recent study by LeChevallier et al. (2003) reported that
37% of oocysts detected in natural waters were infectious. It should, however, be emphasized that
although low concentrations of viable oocysts are commonly found in raw water, they may not
represent an immediate public health risk; rather, it is the sudden and rapid influx of large
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
numbers of oocysts into source waters that is likely to overwhelm drinking water treatment
barriers and be responsible for the increased risk of infection associated with transmission
through drinking water. Environmental events such as flooding or high precipitation can lead to a
rapid rise in oocyst concentration within a defined area of a watershed.
Low oocyst viability has also been reported in filtered water. A survey by LeChevallier et
al. (1991b) found that, in filtered waters, 21 of 23 oocysts had “non-viable-type” morphology
(i.e., absence of sporozoites and distorted or shrunken cytoplasm).
5.2.3 Exposure
Direct contact with livestock and indirect contact through faecally contaminated waters
are major pathways for transmission of Cryptosporidium (Fayer et al., 2000; Robertson et al.,
2002; Stantic-Pavlinic et al., 2003; Roy et al., 2004; Hunter and Thompson, 2005). Cattle are a
significant source of C. parvum in surface waters. For example, a weekly examination of creek
samples upstream and downstream of a cattle ranch in the B.C. interior during a 10-month period
revealed that the downstream location had significantly higher levels of Cryptosporidium oocysts
(geometric mean 13.3 oocysts/100 L, range 1.4–300 oocysts/100 L) compared with the upstream
location (geometric mean 5.6/100 L, range 0.5–34.4 oocysts/100 L) (Ong et al., 1996). A
pronounced spike was observed in downstream samples following calving in late February.
During a confirmed waterborne outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in British Columbia, oocysts were
detected in 70% of the cattle faecal specimens collected in the watershed close to the reservoir
intake (Ong et al., 1997).
Waterfowl can also act as a source of Cryptosporidium. Graczyk et al. (1998)
demonstrated that Cryptosporidium oocysts retain infectivity in mice following passage through
ducks. However, histological examination of the avian respiratory and digestive systems at 7
days post-inoculation revealed that the protozoa were unable to infect birds. In an earlier study
(Graczyk et al., 1996), the authors found that faeces from migratory Canada geese collected from
seven of nine sites on Chesapeake Bay contained Cryptosporidium oocysts. Oocysts from three
of the sites were infectious to mice. Based on these and other studies (Graczyk et al., 2008; Quah
et al., 2011), it appears that waterfowl can pick up infectious Cryptosporidium oocysts from their
habitat and can carry and deposit them in the environment, including drinking water supplies.
5.2.4 Waterborne illness
Cryptosporidium is one of the most commonly reported enteric protozoans in North
America and worldwide. In Canada, over 550 confirmed cases of cryptosporidiosis were reported
in 2004; a similar number of cases (i.e., 623 cases) was reported in 2000. Incidence rates
increased over this period from 1.85 (2000) to 2.67 (2004) cases per 100 000 persons (PHAC,
2007).
Cryptosporidium parvum and C. hominis are the major species associated with human
cryptosporidiosis, although C. hominis appears to be more prevalent in North and South America,
Australia and Africa, whereas C. parvum is responsible for more infections in Europe
(McLauchlin et al., 2000; Guyot et al., 2001; Lowery et al., 2001b; Yagita et al., 2001; Ryan et
al., 2003; Learmonth et al., 2004).
Waterborne outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis have been reported in many countries,
including Canada (Fayer, 2004; Joachim, 2004; Smith et al., 2006). Between 1974 and 2001,
Cryptosporidium was the third most reported causative agent associated with infectious disease
outbreaks related to drinking water in Canada, representing 12 of the 138 outbreaks for which
causative agents were identified (Schuster et al., 2005). The majority (11/12; 92%) of these
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Cryptosporidium outbreaks were associated with public drinking water systems; a selection of
these outbreaks can be found in Appendix E (Table E.1). Contamination of source waters from
human sewage and inadequate treatment (e.g., having poor or no filtration, relying solely on
chlorination) appear to be major contributing factors (Schuster et al., 2005). Most of these
outbreaks could have been prevented through the adoption and implementation of adequate
source water protection strategies (e.g., wastewater management) and appropriate treatment based
on source water characterization. No outbreaks have been reported since 2001. This is in large
part due to the lessons that were learned by all Canadian jurisdictions following the Walkerton
and North Battleford contamination events and their subsequent inquiries. Comprehensive
approaches, including source water protection strategies, were adopted by provinces and
territories based on the source-to-tap approach developed collaboratively by the Canadian
Council of Ministers of the Environment and the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on
Drinking Water (CCME, 2004).
In the United States between 1984 and 2000, 10 outbreaks were associated with the
presence of Cryptosporidium in drinking water; 421 000 cases of illness were reported, most of
which (403 000) were associated with the Milwaukee outbreak in 1993 (U.S. EPA, 2006a).
Between 2001 and 2002, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 17
waterborne disease outbreaks associated with drinking water; only one of these outbreaks was
linked to Cryptosporidium (CDC, 2004). Cryptosporidium was the second most frequently
identified infectious agent associated with waterborne outbreaks in the United States between
1991 and 2002, accounting for 7% of outbreaks (Craun et al., 2006). Nineteen outbreaks were
reported in the United Kingdom (Craun et al., 1998). In a worldwide review of waterborne
protozoan outbreaks, Cryptosporidium accounted for 50.6% of the 325 outbreaks reported
between 1954 and 2002 (Karanis et al., 2007). Attack rates were typically high, ranging from
26% to 40%, and many thousands of people were affected. In addition, there have been several
outbreaks associated with swimming pools, wave pools and lakes.
5.3
Relationship to indicator organisms
The indicator organisms routinely monitored in Canada as part of the multi-barrier,
source-to-tap approach for assessing water quality are E. coli and total coliforms. The presence of
E. coli in water indicates faecal contamination and thus the strong potential for a health risk,
regardless of whether specific pathogens such as enteric protozoa are observed. However, its
absence does not necessarily indicate that enteric protozoa are also absent. Total coliforms are not
faecal specific and therefore cannot be used to indicate faecal contamination (or the potential
presence of enteric pathogens). Instead, total coliforms are used to indicate general water quality
issues. Further information on the role of E. coli and total coliforms in water quality management
can be found in the guideline technical documents on E. coli and total coliforms (Health Canada,
2006a,b).
5.3.1 Treated drinking water
Compared with protozoans, E. coli and members of the coliform group do not survive as
long in the environment (Edberg et al., 2000) and are more susceptible to many of the
disinfectants commonly used in the drinking water industry. As a result, although the presence of
E. coli indicates recent faecal contamination and thus the potential for pathogens such as enteric
protozoa to also be present, the absence of E. coli does not necessarily indicate that enteric
protozoa are also absent. As evidence of this, Giardia and Cryptosporidium (oo)cysts have been
detected in filtered, treated drinking water meeting existing regulatory standards and have been
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linked to waterborne disease outbreaks (LeChevallier et al., 1991b; Craun et al., 1997; Marshall
et al., 1997; Rose et al., 1997; Nwachuku et al., 2002; Aboytes et al., 2004).
Thus, to control risks from enteric protozoa, a multi-barrier, source-to-tap approach is
needed. When each treatment barrier in the drinking water system has been controlled to ensure
that it is operating adequately based on the quality of the source water, then E. coli and total
coliforms can be used as an important part of the verification process. These bacteriological
indicators, when used in conjunction with information on treatment performance (e.g., filter
performance, appropriate concentration × time [CT] values [see Section 7.1.3.2] for inactivation
of Giardia, UV fluence), are a confirmation that the water has been adequately treated and is
therefore of an acceptable microbiological quality.
5.3.2 Surface water sources
Several studies have investigated the relationship between indicator organisms and the
presence or absence of enteric protozoa in surface water sources. In general, studies have
reported little (Medema et al, 1997; Atherholt et al., 1998; Payment et al., 2000) or no (Rose at
al., 1988, 1991; Chauret et al., 1995; Stevens et al., 2001; Hörman et al., 2004; Dorner et al.,
2007; Sunderland et al., 2007) correlation between protozoa and faecal indicators, including E.
coli. In the cases where a correlation has been reported, it is with Giardia and at very high
indicator levels. A review of 40 years of published data on indicator–pathogen correlations found
that neither Cryptosporidium (odds ratio 0.41, 95% confidence interval 0.25–0.69) nor Giardia
(odds ratio 0.65, 95% confidence interval 0.36–1.15) is likely to be correlated with faecal
indicator organisms (Wu et al., 2011). This overall lack of correlation is likely due to a variety of
factors, including differential survival rates in the environment, sampling location, and
methodological differences related to the analysis of water (Payment and Pintar, 2006).
Watershed characteristics, including sources and levels of faecal contamination, and geochemical
factors, may also influence the correlation between faecal indicators and protozoa, leading to sitespecific differences (Chauret et al., 1995).
These observations have raised significant questions regarding the appropriateness of
using E. coli as an indicator of protozoan contamination in surface waters, and highlighted the
need for targeted protozoa monitoring of surface waters to gain a better understanding of public
health risk.
5.3.3 Groundwater sources
Only a few studies have reported the presence of enteric protozoa, specifically
Cryptosporidium, in groundwater (see Section 5.2.1). As such, the usefulness of E. coli as an
indicator of enteric protozoa contamination of groundwater sources has not been assessed.
6.0
Analytical methods
The most widely recognized and used method for the detection of Giardia and
Cryptosporidium in water is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Method 1623, as
this method allows for the simultaneous detection of these protozoa and has been validated in
surface water (U.S. EPA, 2005, 2006a). Although other methods for the detection of Giardia and
Cryptosporidium in water exist, they have demonstrated lower recoveries and increased variance
compared with EPA Method 1623 (Quintero-Betancourt et al., 2002). Like most methods used
for the detection of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in water, EPA Method 1623 consists of four
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steps: 1) sample collection, 2) sample filtration and elution, 3) sample concentration and
separation (purification) and 4) (oo)cyst detection. These steps are described in the following
sections. Some emerging detection methods are also discussed, along with methods used for
assessing (oo)cyst viability and infectivity.
6.1
Sample collection
Water samples can be collected as bulk samples or filtered in the field and then shipped
on ice to a laboratory for processing as quickly as possible (ideally, within 24 hours). The volume
of water collected depends on the expected level of (oo)cysts in the water (i.e., site specific); the
lower the expected density of (oo)cysts, the greater the sample volume needed. In most cases,
between 10 and 1000 L of water are collected. In the case of raw water, samples are typically
collected near and at the depth of the drinking water intake point, in an effort to sample the
source water used for supplying drinking water.
6.2
Sample filtration and elution
(Oo)cysts are generally present in small numbers in faecally contaminated water; as such,
bulk water samples must be filtered to concentrate the pathogens to a detectable level. Typically,
water is pumped through a filter, and (oo)cysts, along with extraneous particulate materials, are
retained on the filter. Filtration can be achieved using a variety of filter types, including wound
filters, membrane filters, hollow fibre filters and compressed foam filters. These filters vary in
terms of the volume of water that they can process, their filtration rates, their practicality, their
compatibility with subsequent processing steps, their cost and their retention ability. These
differences account for the wide range of recovery efficiencies reported in the literature (Sartory
et al., 1998; DiGiorgio et al., 2002; Quintero-Betancourt et al., 2003; Ferguson et al., 2004). A
number of filters have been validated by EPA Method 1623 (U.S. EPA, 2005). Once filtration is
complete, entrapped (oo)cysts on the filter are released through the addition of eluting solutions,
producing a filter eluate.
6.3
Sample concentration and separation
(Oo)cysts in the filter eluate are further concentrated through centrifugation and separated
from other particulates through immunomagnetic separation (IMS)/immunocapture.
Alternatively, flotation (i.e., density gradient centrifugation) can be used for (oo)cyst separation;
however, this approach has been associated with significant (oo)cyst losses and does not
effectively remove other biological materials (e.g., yeast and algal cells) (Nieminski et al., 1995),
which may affect subsequent (oo)cyst detection.
The partially concentrated (oo)cysts are then centrifuged, resulting in the formation of a
pellet. This pellet is resuspended in a small volume of buffer. The concentrate is mixed with
(oo)cyst-specific monoclonal antibodies attached to magnetized beads, also referred to as
immunomagnetic beads. These beads will selectively bind to (oo)cysts. A magnetic field is then
applied, resulting in the separation of (oo)cyst–bead complexes from extraneous materials. These
materials are removed, the (oo)cyst–bead complex is dissociated and the beads are extracted,
resulting in a concentrated suspension of (oo)cysts. Several studies have assessed the recovery
potential of the IMS step alone. Fricker and Clancy (1998) reported that (oo)cysts added to (i.e.,
seeded into) low-turbidity waters can be recovered with efficiencies above 90%. In comparison,
mean oocyst and cyst recoveries for turbid waters ranged from 55.9% to 83.1% and from 61.1%
to 89.6%, respectively, for turbid waters (McCuin et al., 2001). Others have reported similar
recoveries (Moss and Arrowood, 2001; Rimhanen-Finne et al., 2001, 2002; Sturbaum et al.,
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2002; Ward et al., 2002; Chesnot and Schwartzbrod, 2004; Greinert et al., 2004; Hu et al., 2004;
Ochiai et al., 2005; Ryan et al., 2005b). Although IMS aids in reducing false positives by
reducing the level of debris on slide preparations for microscopic analysis, it is a relatively
expensive procedure, with few manufacturers supplying the immunomagnetic beads. Moreover, it
has been reported that high levels of turbidity and/or iron (Yakub and Stadterman-Knauer, 2000),
along with changes in pH (i.e., optimum pH of 7) (Kuhn et al., 2002), may inhibit IMS.
6.4
(Oo)cyst detection
Once samples have been concentrated and (oo)cysts have been separated from extraneous
materials, a number of detection techniques can be applied. The most commonly used detection
approach is the immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Alternative detection methods, such as the
polymerase chain reaction (PCR), flow cytometry and other molecular approaches, are
increasingly being used. Molecular detection methods are generally more rapid and sensitive and
have the potential of being paired with a variety of other methods to provide species/genotype
information. However, only small volumes can be processed using these methods, and some
methods (e.g., PCR) are susceptible to environmental inhibitors.
6.4.1 Immunofluorescence assay
Following sample concentration and separation, a portion of the (oo)cyst suspension is
transferred to a microscope slide. Fluorescently labelled antibodies directed at specific antigens
on the (oo)cyst surface are then applied to the slide and allowed to incubate. Direct
immunofluorescence microscopy is then used to locate fluorescing bodies, which are potential
(oo)cysts. This process, referred to as an IFA, requires specialized equipment and a high level of
technical skill. It can be highly sensitive, however, because some autofluorescent algae are very
close in size and staining characteristics to (oo)cysts; final identification of (oo)cysts often
requires additional staining and microscopy. In most cases, a DAPI stain is applied. Because
DAPI binds to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), it will highlight (oo)cyst nuclei and facilitate their
identification.
6.4.2 Flow cytometry
Flow cytometry can be used as an alternative technique for detecting (oo)cysts following
concentration. Flow cytometry allows the sorting, enumeration and examination of microscopic
particles suspended in fluid, based on light scattering. Fluorescently activated cell sorting (FACS)
is the flow cytometric technique that is used to enumerate and separate Cryptosporidium and
Giardia from background particles. Typically, immunofluorescent antibodies are introduced into
the (oo)cyst suspension, and the suspension is passed through a beam of light (within the flow
cytometer). As particles pass through the stream of light, their fluorescence is measured, and they
are then sorted into two or more vials.
FACS has proven to be highly sensitive and specific and is being used more and more as
an alternative (oo)cyst detection technique (Vesey et al., 1997; Bennett et al., 1999; Reynolds et
al., 1999; Delaunay et al., 2000; Lindquist et al., 2001; Kato and Bowman, 2002; Lepesteur et al.,
2003; Hsu et al., 2005). This approach has the advantage of being rapid, allowing for high
throughput. However, flow cytometers are expensive, and their operation requires significant user
training. In addition, like IFA, this procedure can be adversely influenced by the presence of
autofluorescent algae and antibody cross-reactivity with other organisms and particles. FACS
also requires confirmation of (oo)cysts by microscopy, which is why it is often coupled with EPA
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Method 1623. Although FACS shows promise, it is still in the development stage and is not used
for routine analysis.
6.4.3 Molecular methods
A number of molecular approaches have also been used in the detection of Giardia and
Cryptosporidium (oo)cysts. A brief description of some of these methods is provided below. It is
important to note that although molecular methods have many advantages, they also possess
significant disadvantages that make them unsuitable for routine analysis of water. There are
currently no validated molecular methods for the detection of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in
water.
PCR is the most commonly used molecular method for detection of (oo)cysts. This
method involves lysing (oo)cysts to release DNA and then introducing primers that are targeted
at specific Giardia or Cryptosporidium coding regions (e.g., 18S ribosomal ribonucleic acid
[rRNA]) and amplification of these regions. PCR can be highly sensitive (i.e., level of a single
(oo)cyst) and specific (Deng et al., 1997, 2000; Bukhari et al., 1998; Di Giovanni et al., 1999;
Kostrzynska et al., 1999; Rochelle et al., 1999; Hallier-Soulier and Guillot, 2000; Hsu and
Huang, 2001; McCuin et al., 2001; Moss and Arrowood, 2001; Rimhanen-Finne et al., 2001,
2002; Sturbaum et al., 2002; Ward et al., 2002). It can be combined with other molecular
techniques, such as restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), to discriminate between
species and genotypes of Cryptosporidium and Giardia (Morgan et al., 1997; Widmer, 1998;
Lowery et al., 2000, 2001a,b), although this approach can be problematic, in that it can produce
similar banding patterns for different species and genotypes. PCR is also amenable to
automation, and reverse transcriptase (RT) PCR may permit discrimination of viable and nonviable (oo)cysts. However, PCR inhibition by divalent cations and humic and fulvic acids is a
significant problem (Sluter et al., 1997). In an effort to remove these inhibitors, samples must go
through several purification steps. In addition to inhibition, inefficient (oo)cyst lysis is often an
issue. Despite these problems, many PCR assays have been developed for detection of
waterborne (oo)cysts (Stinear et al., 1996; Kaucner and Stinear, 1998; Griffin et al., 1999;
Lowery et al., 2000; Gobet and Toze, 2001; Karasudani et al., 2001; Ong et al., 2002; Sturbaum
et al., 2002; Ward et al., 2002).
Other emerging molecular methods for detection of (oo)cysts include fluorescence in situ
hybridization (FISH), real-time PCR and microarrays. FISH involves hybridizing a fluorescently
labelled oligonucleotide probe that is targeted at the 18S rRNA region of Giardia and
Cryptosporidium. This technique has shown some success, but it is limited by relatively weak
signals (i.e., (oo)cysts do not fluoresce sufficiently) and related difficulties in microscopic
interpretation (Deere et al., 1998; Vesey et al., 1998; Dorsch and Veal, 2001). Real-time PCR is a
modified PCR that involves oligonucleotide probes that fluoresce. As the target region within
(oo)cysts is amplified, the emitted fluorescence is measured, thereby allowing quantification of
the PCR products. This method has several advantages, including the lack of post-PCR analysis,
increased throughput, decreased likelihood of contamination (i.e., closed vessel system), ability
to quantify (oo)cysts (MacDonald et al., 2002; Fontaine and Guillot, 2003; Bertrand et al., 2004)
and ability to assess (oo)cyst viability (when paired with cell culture) (Keegan et al., 2003;
LeChevallier et al., 2003). This approach has other unique advantages, including its ability to
differentiate between species of Cryptosporidium and Giardia (using melting curve analysis)
(Limor et al., 2002; Ramirez and Sreevatsan, 2006) and simultaneously detect different
microorganisms (Guy et al., 2003). Although this assay has several advantages over traditional
PCR and IFA and has proven useful in identification and enumeration of (oo)cysts, it requires a
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real-time PCR analyser, which is very costly and may limit its widespread use. Microarrays
represent a very novel approach to (oo)cyst detection. A microarray is a collection of microscopic
DNA spots, usually on a glass slide, against which pathogen DNA is hybridized. This approach
has proven useful in the detection and genotyping of Giardia and Cryptosporidium (Straub et al.,
2002; Grow et al., 2003; Wang et al., 2004), although more research is required to determine its
specificity and sensitivity.
6.5
Recovery efficiencies
An integral part of the Giardia and Cryptosporidium detection process involves
determining recovery efficiencies. As mentioned previously, there can be significant losses of
(oo)cysts during the concentration and separation processes. In addition, the characteristics of the
water (e.g., presence of suspended solids, algae) can have a significant impact on recovery
efficiency. As a result, the true concentration of (oo)cysts in a water sample is almost always
higher than the measured concentration. Thus, recovery efficiencies are determined to better
approximate the actual concentration of (oo)cysts. The recovery efficiency is generally measured
by introducing a known number of (oo)cysts into the water sample (i.e., seeding) before the
sample is analysed. Ideally, the recovery efficiency should be determined for each sample;
however, because this is expensive, recovery efficiency data are usually collected for a subset of
samples. With the introduction of commercial preparations containing a certified number of
(oo)cysts, this process has become more cost-effective and routine.
Several studies have evaluated the recovery efficiencies achieved using EPA’s Method
1623 with different types of filters (McCuin and Clancy, 2003; Ferguson et al., 2004; Hu et al.,
2004; Wohlsen et al., 2004; Karim et al. 2010). Recoveries ranged significantly and correlated
with variations in raw water quality, highlighting the importance of an internal control with each
water sample.
6.6
Assessing viability and infectivity
A major drawback of existing methods for the detection of Giardia and Cryptosporidium
is that they provide very limited information on the viability or human infectivity of (oo)cysts,
which is essential in determining their public health significance. Whereas viability can be
assessed relatively easily and rapidly, assessment of infectivity is much more complex. Methods
used to evaluate viability and infectivity are very costly because of the need for maintaining cell
lines, animals and qualified staff; as a result, they are not typically applied to the assessment of
(oo)cysts.
A variety of in vitro and in vivo methods have been developed to assess viability and
infectivity. In vitro methods include excystation, fluorogenic dye inclusion/exclusion (i.e.,
staining), reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and fluorescence in situ
hybridization (FISH). In vivo methods include animal infectivity assays and cell culture. A brief
discussion of these methods is provided in the following sections.
6.6.1 Excystation
Viability (but not infectivity) can be estimated by subjecting (oo)cysts to conditions
similar to those in the gut, in an effort to stimulate excystation (i.e., release of
trophozoites/sporozoites). Excystation “cocktails” and conditions vary considerably and may
result in conflicting observations. If (oo)cysts are capable of excystation, they are considered
viable. Giardia can be excysted using acid and enzymes such as trypsin and grown in TYI-S-33
medium (Diamond et al., 1978; Rice and Schaefer, 1981), but the excystation rate for Giardia is
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often low. Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts can also be excysted as a measure of viability (Black
et al., 1996). However, excystation methods have been shown to be relatively poor indicators of
Cryptosporidium oocyst viability. Neumann et al. (2000b) observed that non-excysted oocysts
recovered after commonly used excystation procedures are still infectious to neonatal mice.
6.6.2 Fluorogenic dyes
Various staining methods have been developed to assess (oo)cyst viability, based on the
inclusion or exclusion of two fluorogenic dyes, DAPI and PI (Robertson et al., 1998; FreireSantos et al., 2000; Neumann et al., 2000b; Gold et al., 2001; Iturriaga et al., 2001). Three classes
of (oo)cysts can be identified: 1) viable (inclusion of DAPI, exclusion of PI), 2) non-viable
(inclusion of both DAPI and PI) and 3) quiescent or dormant (exclusion of both DAPI and PI, but
potentially viable). In general, DAPI and PI give good correlation with in vitro excystation
(Campbell et al., 1992). Neumann et al. (2000a) demonstrated a strong correlation between
DAPI/PI staining intensity and animal infectivity of freshly isolated C. parvum oocysts. These
stains have also been successfully used in conjunction with fluorescently labelled antibodies
(used in FACS) to determine the viability and infectivity of (oo)cysts in water samples, because
their fluorescence spectra do not overlap with those of the antibodies (Belosevic et al., 1997;
Bukhari et al., 2000; Neumann et al., 2000b). In spite of these positive correlations, dye
inclusion/exclusion, like excystation procedures, overestimates the viability and potential
infectivity of (oo)cysts (Black et al., 1996; Jenkins et al., 1997).
6.6.3 Reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction
RT-PCR can also be applied to the direct detection of viable (oo)cysts in water
concentrates (Kaucner and Stinear, 1998). RT-PCR amplifies a messenger ribonucleic acid
(mRNA) target molecule. As only viable organisms can produce mRNA, this experimental
method may prove useful in assessing (oo)cyst viability. For example, when compared with the
IFA DAPI/PI method, the frequency of detection of viable Giardia increased from 24% with IFA
to 69% with RT-PCR. An advantage of this approach is that it can be combined with IMS,
allowing for simultaneous detection and viability testing (Hallier-Soulier and Guillot, 2000,
2003); it can also be quantitative. RT-PCR, like other PCR-based methods, is highly susceptible
to environmental inhibition and suffers from inefficient extraction of nucleic acids from
(oo)cysts.
6.6.4 Fluorescence in situ hybridization
FISH has shown modest success in differentiating between living and dead (oo)cysts
(Davies et al., 2005; Lemos et al., 2005; Taguchi et al., 2006); however, false positives are
common (Smith et al., 2004). As 18S rRNA is present in high copy numbers in viable (oo)cysts
but in low numbers in non-viable (oo)cysts, it is a useful target for assessing viability. Further
research is required to validate this assay for use in assessing (oo)cyst viability. Like DAPI/PI
staining, FISH is limited by its inability to assess (oo)cyst infectivity. Further research is required
to validate this assay for use in assessing (oo)cyst viability.
6.6.5 Animal infectivity assays
The most direct method for assessing (oo)cyst viability and infectivity is to inoculate a
susceptible animal and monitor for (oo)cyst shedding and any histological evidence of disease
development. Giardia and Cryptosporidium are used to infect experimental animals such as the
gerbil (for Giardia) (Belosevic et al., 1983) and the neonatal CD-1 mouse (for Cryptosporidium)
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
(Finch et al., 1993). This approach has shown moderate success (Delaunay et al., 2000; Korich et
al., 2000; Matsue et al., 2001; Noordeen et al., 2002; Okhuysen et al., 2002; Rochelle et al.,
2002), but it is not practical, as most analytical laboratories do not maintain animal colonies, and
animal infectivity assays are expensive to perform. In addition, there is limited knowledge on the
diversity of species and genotypes of Giardia and Cryptosporidium that can infect animal models
(i.e., some species/genotypes may not be infectious for a particular animal host). Even with this
information, this approach is not sensitive enough for environmental monitoring (i.e., high
median infective dose [ID50]). These assays are typically reserved for research purposes, such as
assessing disinfection effectiveness, rather than for routine assessment of (oo)cyst
viability/infectivity.
6.6.6 Cell culture infectivity assays
Unlike Giardia, Cryptosporidium is an intracellular parasite that relies on host cells for
replication. Thus, oocysts cannot be grown in cell-free culture media. In vitro cell culture assays
for Cryptosporidium infectivity assessment overcome several of the limitations associated with
the use of animal models. These assays involve exposing oocysts to excystation stimuli followed
by their inoculation into a cultured mammalian cell line, such as human ileocaecal
adenocarcinoma (HCT-8) cells, which support the parasite’s growth and development. Oocysts
are typically inoculated on HCT-8 cell monolayers. After a 24- to 48-hour incubation, the cell
monolayer is examined for the presence of Cryptosporidium reproductive stages using either an
indirect IFA (Slifko et al., 1997) or PCR (Rochelle et al., 1997).
This approach has been used to estimate the infectivity of oocysts in water (Di Giovanni
et al., 1999; Hijjawi et al., 2001; Weir et al., 2001; Rochelle et al., 2002; Johnson et al., 2005;
Schets et al., 2005; Coulliette at al., 2006) and has been shown to yield results comparable to
those of the mouse infectivity model (Hijjawi et al., 2001; Rochelle et al., 2002; Slifko et al.,
2002). In other comparison studies, average percent viabilities were comparable for cell culture,
excystation and DAPI/PI assays (Slifko et al., 1997).
There are several advantages to the cell culture assay, including its high sensitivity (i.e.,
detection of a single viable oocyst), applicability to analysis of raw and treated water samples,
ease of performance and rapid turnaround time for results. Another advantage of this approach is
that C. parvum and C. hominis can be maintained in vitro for long periods of time, facilitating
viability and immunotherapy studies. In addition, cell culture can be combined with other
methods, including PCR, to more accurately assess viability/infectivity. Cell culture PCR (CCPCR) has proven useful in assessing watershed contamination and in estimating risk (Joachim et
al., 2003; LeChevallier et al., 2003; Masago et al., 2004). Although cell culture infectivity assays
have several advantages, they also possess a number of disadvantages, including the need to
maintain a cell line and poor reproducibility among similar samples for quantitative assessments.
Moreover, existing cell culture methods detect only C. parvum and C. hominis; very little is
known about how other Cryptosporidium species and genotypes of human health concern infect
culture systems. The development of C. parvum in a host cell–free culture was recently reported
(Hijjawi et al., 2004), but could not be reproduced (Girouard et al., 2006).
7.0
Treatment technology
The multi-barrier approach, including watershed or wellhead protection, appropriate
treatment, optimized filtration for effective fine particle removal and disinfection, a wellGuidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document
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maintained distribution system and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment (e.g., turbidity,
disinfectant residuals), is the best approach to reduce protozoa and other waterborne pathogens in
drinking water. In general, all water supplies should be disinfected, and an adequate
concentration of disinfectant residual should be maintained throughout the distribution system at
all times.
Where events leading to protozoan impacts on the source water are well characterized, it
may be possible to implement other barriers/risk management measures in addition to those
mentioned above. These may include limiting capture of raw water during high-risk events,
selectively operating an additional barrier during high-risk events, use of alternative sources or
blending of varying sources (groundwater and surface water).
Source water quality should be characterized. The best means of achieving this is to
conduct routine monitoring for Giardia and Cryptosporidium in order to establish a baseline,
followed by long-term targeted monitoring. Monitoring of source water for protozoa can be
targeted by using information about sources of faecal contamination from a sanitary survey,
together with historical data on rainfall, snowmelt, river flow and turbidity, to help to identify the
conditions that are likely to lead to peak events. Sanitary surveys are not a substitute for routine
or targeted monitoring. In order to understand the full range of source water quality, data should
be collected during normal conditions as well as during extreme weather or spill/upset events
(e.g., spring runoff, storms). For example, the flooding of sewage collection and treatment
systems during heavy rainfall events can lead to sudden increases in protozoa and other microbial
pathogens in the source water.
Once the source water quality has been initially characterized, a health-based treatment
goal can be established for the specific source water, and effective pathogen removal and/or
inactivation strategies can be put in place in order to achieve safe levels in the finished drinking
water. To optimize performance for removal and/or inactivation of microbial pathogens, the
relative importance of each barrier must be understood. Some water systems have multiple
redundant barriers, such that failure of a given barrier still provides adequate treatment. In other
cases, all barriers must be working well to provide the required level of treatment. For these
systems, failure of a single treatment barrier could lead to a waterborne outbreak.
The inactivation of protozoa from raw water is complicated by their resistance to
commonly used disinfectants such as chlorine. Treatment systems that rely solely on chlorine as
the treatment barrier will not be able to inactivate Giardia and Cryptosporidium that may be
present in the source water. The combination of physical removal and disinfection barriers is the
most effective way to reduce protozoa in drinking water. In most cases, a well-operated water
treatment plant using conventional treatment (i.e., filtration preceded by coagulation, flocculation
and clarification) should be able to produce water with a negligible risk of infection from
protozoan pathogens (Ireland Environmental Protection Agency, 1995). Options for treatment
and control of protozoa are discussed briefly in this document; however, more detailed
information is available in other publications (U.S. EPA, 1991; Health and Welfare Canada,
1993;Deere et al., 2001; Hijnen et al., 2004a; LeChevallier and Au, 2004; MWH, 2005; Smeets et
al., 2006; AWWA, 2011). These treatment and control options also need to take into account
other treatment requirements, such as turbidity, disinfection by-product (DBP) formation and
distribution system maintenance.
7.1
Municipal scale
Treatment of surface water or surface water–impacted groundwater systems should
include physical removal methods, such as chemically assisted filtration (coagulation,
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
flocculation, clarification and filtration), and disinfection, or equivalent technologies. It is
essential that the physical removal and disinfection targets are achieved before drinking water
reaches the first consumer in the distribution system. Adequate process control measures, such as
turbidity removal, and operator training are also required to ensure the effective operation of
treatment barriers at all times (U.S. EPA, 1991; Health and Welfare Canada, 1993; MWH, 2005;
AWWA, 2011).
7.1.1 Level of treatment necessary
The level of treatment needed is based on the source water pathogen concentration and
the required drinking water quality. Most source waters are subject to faecal contamination, as
such, treatment technologies should be in place to achieve a minimum 3-log (99.9%) removal
and/or inactivation of Cryptosporidium and Giardia. With this level of treatment, a source water
concentration of 34 cysts/100 L can be reduced to 3.4 × 10−2 cysts/100 L, which meets the
population health target of 10−6 disability-adjusted life year (DALY)/person per year (see Section
9.0). Similarly, a source water concentration of 13 oocysts/100 L can be reduced to 1.3 × 10−2
oocysts/100 L. However, many surface waters in Canada have much higher (oo)cyst
concentrations (see Sections 5.1.1 and 5.2.1) and therefore require additional
removal/inactivation in order to meet the same concentration in the treated drinking water (see
Section 9.3.4).
Source water Giardia and Cryptosporidium concentrations should be determined based on
actual water sampling and analysis. Such characterization should take into account normal
conditions as well as event-based monitoring, such as spring runoff, storms or spill events.
Testing results should also take into account recovery efficiencies for the analytical method and
pathogen viability in order to obtain the most accurate assessment of infectious pathogens present
in the source water. Where source water sampling and analysis for Giardia and Cryptosporidium
are not feasible (e.g., small supplies), (oo)cyst concentrations can be estimated. Estimates should
be based on a source water assessment along with other water quality parameters that can provide
information on the risk and/or level of faecal contamination in the source water. Because these
estimates will have a high level of uncertainty, engineering safety factors or additional treatment
reductions should be applied in order to ensure production of microbiologically safe drinking
water.
The health-based treatment goal can be achieved through one or more treatment steps
involving physical removal and/or primary disinfection. The (oo)cyst log reductions for each
separate treatment barrier can be combined to define the overall reduction for the treatment
process.
7.1.2 Physical removal
7.1.2.1 Conventional filtration
Conventional filtration is a practical method to achieve high removal/inactivation rates of
(oo)cysts. A recent review of pilot- and full-scale study data concluded that coagulation,
flocculation and sedimentation processes were associated with a 1.6 log Cryptosporidium
removal credit (range of 0.4–3.7 log) and a 1.5 log Giardia removal credit (range of 0–3.3 log)
(Hijnen et al., 2004a). Another review (Emelko et al., 2005) found that granular media filtration
can achieve a 3 log removal, or better, of Cryptosporidium when filters are operated at or near
optimal conditions. Coagulation and flocculation should be optimized for particles to be
effectively removed by filtration. The end of a filter run is a vulnerable period for filter operation.
The deterioration in oocyst removal by several log units was observed in the early stages of
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
breakthrough when filter effluent particle counts had just begun to rise and turbidity had not
always increased (Huck et al., 2002). Filters must be carefully controlled, monitored and
backwashed such that particle breakthrough does not occur (Huck et al., 2001; Emelko et al.,
2005), and filter backwash water should not be recirculated through the treatment plant without
additional treatment. Slow sand and diatomaceous earth filtration can also be highly effective,
with physical removals in the range of > 4 log and 3.3 log for Cryptosporidium and Giardia,
respectively (Hijnen et al., 2004b). As there is wide variability in the characteristics of source
waters, the selection of the most appropriate system must be made by experienced engineers after
suitable analysis and/or pilot testing.
Many treatment processes are interdependent and rely on optimal conditions upstream in
the treatment process for efficient operation of subsequent treatment steps. Thus, in order to
effectively remove Cryptosporidium and Giardia through filtration barriers, it is important that
the preceding coagulation and flocculation steps be optimized.
7.1.2.2 Membrane filtration
Membrane filtration has become an increasingly important component of drinking water
treatment systems (Betancourt and Rose, 2004; Goh et al., 2005). Microfiltration membranes
have the largest pore size (0.1 µm; Taylor and Weisner, 1999). Whereas nanofiltration and
reverse osmosis processes are effective in removing protozoan (oo)cysts, microfiltration and
ultrafiltration are the most commonly applied/used technologies for microbial removal because of
their cost-effectiveness. Jacangelo et al. (1995) evaluated the removal of G. muris and C. parvum
from three source waters of varying quality using a variety of microfiltration and ultrafiltration
membranes. Microfiltration membranes of 0.1 µm and 0.2 µm and ultrafiltration membranes of
100, 300 and 500 kilodaltons were assessed. Both microfiltration and ultrafiltration were capable
of absolute removal of G. muris and C. parvum. The concentration of protozoa in the different
raw waters tested varied from 104 to 105/L, and log removals of 4.7–7.0 for G. muris and 4.4–7.0
for C. parvum were achieved. More recently, States et al. (1999) reported absolute removal of
Cryptosporidium (challenge concentration of 108 oocysts) and Giardia (challenge concentration
of 107 cysts) by microfiltration. Parker et al. (1999) also reported an absolute removal of C.
parvum from an influent concentration of approximately 2 × 105/100 L to an effluent
concentration of less than 1/100 L (5.3 log removal) using microfiltration membranes (0.2 µm).
Although membrane filtration is highly effective for removal of protozoan (oo)cysts,
system integrity (breaks, O-rings, connectors, glue), membrane fouling and degradation must be
considered. Membrane fouling is usually caused by accumulation of particles, chemicals and
biological growth on membrane surfaces. Membrane degradation is typically the result of
hydrolysis and oxidation. There can be very significant differences in pathogen removal, because
the physical characteristics of a membrane can vary during the manufacturing process by
different manufacturers and because polymeric membranes, regardless of their nominal
classification, have a range of pore sizes. The (oo)cyst removal efficiency for a specific
membrane must be demonstrated through challenge testing conducted by the manufacturer and
subsequently verified by direct integrity testing at the treatment plant. This process involves
measuring pressure loss across the membrane or assessing removal of spiked particulates using a
marker-based approach. More detailed information on filtration techniques can be found in the
guideline technical document on turbidity (Health Canada, 2012b).
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7.1.2.3 Physical log removal credits for treatment barriers
Drinking water treatment plants that meet the turbidity limits established in the Guideline
Technical Document on turbidity (Health Canada, 2012b) can apply the estimated potential
removal credits for Giardia and Cryptosporidium given in Table 7. These log removals are
adapted from the removal credits established by the U.S. EPA as part of the “Long Term 2
Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule” (LT2ESWTR) (U.S. EPA, 2006b) and the “Long Term
1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule” (LT1ESWTR) Disinfection Profiling and
Benchmarking Guidance Manual (U.S. EPA, 2003). Alternatively, log removal rates can be
established on the basis of demonstrated performance or pilot studies. The physical log removal
credits can be combined with the disinfection credits to meet overall treatment goals. For
example, if an overall 5 log (99.999%) Cryptosporidium removal is required for a given system
and conventional filtration provides 3 log removal, then the remaining 2 log reduction must be
achieved through another barrier, such as primary disinfection.
Table 7. Cryptosporidium and Giardia removal credits for various treatment technologies
meeting the turbidity values specified in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Qualitya
Treatment barrier
Cryptosporidium removal
Giardia removal creditc
credit b
Conventional filtration
Direct filtration
3 log
2.5 log
3 log
2.5 log
Slow sand filtration
3 log
3 log
Diatomaceous earth filtration
3 log
3 log
Microfiltration and
ultrafiltration
Demonstration and challenge
testingd
Demonstration and challenge
testingd
Nanofiltration and reverse
osmosis
Demonstration and challenge
testingd
Demonstration and challenge
testingd
a
Health Canada (2012b)
Values from the LT2ESWTR (U.S. EPA, 2006a), p. 678.
c
Values based on review of Schuler and Ghosh, 1990, 1991; AWWA, 1991; Nieminski and Ongerth, 1995; Patania
et al., 1995; McTigue et al., 1998; Nieminski and Bellamy, 2000; U.S. EPA 2003; DeLoyde et al., 2006;
Assavasilavasukul et al., 2008
d
Removal efficiency demonstrated through challenge testing and verified by direct integrity testing.
b
7.1.3 Chemical disinfection
Chemical disinfectants commonly used for treating drinking water include chlorine,
chloramine, chlorine dioxide and ozone. Disinfection is typically applied after treatment
processes that remove particles and organic matter. This strategy helps to ensure efficient
inactivation of pathogens and minimizes the formation of DBPs. It is important to note that when
describing microbial disinfection of drinking water, the term “inactivation” is used to indicate
that the pathogen is no longer able to multiply within its host and is therefore non-infectious,
although it may still be present.
7.1.3.1 Water quality characteristics
Physical characteristics of the water, such as temperature, pH and turbidity, can have a
major impact on the inactivation and removal of pathogens. For example, inactivation rates for
Cryptosporidium and Giardia increase 2- to 3-fold for every 10°C rise in temperature (see
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Section 7.1.3.2 and CT tables in Appendices A and B). When water temperatures are close to
0°C, as is often the case in winter in Canada, the efficacy of disinfection is reduced, and an
increased disinfectant concentration and/or contact time are required to achieve the same level of
inactivation.
The effectiveness of some disinfectants is also dependent on pH. When using free
chlorine, increasing the pH from 6 to 9 reduces the level of Giardia inactivation by a factor of 3
(see CT tables in Appendix A). On the other hand, pH has been shown to have little effect on
Giardia inactivation when using ozone or chlorine dioxide.
Reducing turbidity is an important step in the inactivation of Cryptosporidium and
Giardia and other microorganisms. Chemical disinfection may be inhibited by particles that can
protect Cryptosporidium and Giardia and other microorganisms. Additionally, turbidity will
consume disinfectant and reduce the effectiveness of chemical disinfection. An increase in
turbidity from 1 to 10 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) resulted in an 8-fold decrease in free
chlorine disinfection efficiency (Hoff, 1986). The effect of turbidity on treatment efficiency is
further discussed in the guideline technical document on turbidity (Health Canada, 2012b).
7.1.3.2 CT concept for disinfection
The efficacy of chemical disinfectants can be predicted based on knowledge of the
residual concentration of a specific disinfectant and of factors that influence its performance,
mainly temperature, pH, contact time and the level of disinfection required (AWWA 1991). This
relationship is commonly referred to as the CT concept, where CT is the product of “C” (the
residual concentration of disinfectant, measured in mg/L) and “T” (the disinfectant contact time,
measured in minutes) for specific disinfectants at pH values and temperatures encountered during
water treatment. To account for disinfectant decay, the residual concentration is usually
determined at the exit of the contact chamber rather than using the applied dose or initial
concentration. Also, the contact time T is often calculated using a T10 value, which is defined as
“the detention time at which 90% of the water passing through the unit is retained within the
basin” (AWWA, 1991) (i.e., 90% of the water meets or exceeds the required contact time). The
T10 values can be estimated based on the geometry and flow conditions of the disinfection
chamber or basin (AWWA 1991). Hydraulic tracer tests, however, are the most accurate method
to determine the contact time under actual plant flow conditions. The T value is dependent on the
hydraulics related to the construction of the treatment installation. For this reason, it is less easily
adjustable than the disinfectant dosage during the treatment plant operation. However, changing
the hydraulics can be achieved through physical modifications such as the addition of baffles to
the contact chamber or basin.
Complete CT tables for 0.5 log to 3 log inactivation of Giardia and Cryptosporidium can
be found in Appendix A and Appendix B, respectively. Some selected CT values are presented in
Table 8 for 3 log (99.9%) inactivation of Giardia using chlorine, chloramine, chlorine dioxide
and ozone. The CT values illustrate the fact that chloramine is a much weaker disinfectant than
free chlorine, chlorine dioxide or ozone, as much higher concentrations and/or contact times are
required to achieve the same degree of (oo)cyst inactivation. Consequently, chloramine is not
recommended as a primary disinfectant for protozoa.
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Table 8. CT values for 99.9% (3 log) inactivation of Giardia by various disinfectants at 5°C and
20°C (pH 6–9)a, b
CT values
Temperature
Free chlorine
Chloramine
Chlorine
Ozone
(oC)
(Cl2)c
(NH2Cl)
dioxide (ClO2)
(O3)
5
179
2200
26
1.9
20
67
1100
15
0.72
a
b
c
From U.S. EPA (1991).
Selected values adapted from Tables A.1–A.5 in Appendix A.
pH 7.5, residual of 1 mg/L.
Free chlorine is the most common chemical used for primary disinfection because it is
widely available, is relatively inexpensive and provides a residual that can be used for
maintaining water quality in the distribution system. However, inactivation of Giardia using free
chlorine requires relatively high concentrations and/or contact times, particularly in cold waters.
Chlorination is also not effective for the inactivation of Cryptosporidium. Ozone and chlorine
dioxide are effective disinfectants against Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Ozone is a very strong
oxidant capable of effectively inactivating Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Whereas both ozone
and chlorine dioxide are effective disinfectants, they are typically more expensive and
complicated to implement, particularly in small treatment systems. Also, ozone decays rapidly
after being applied during treatment and cannot be used to provide a secondary disinfectant
residual. Chlorine dioxide is also not recommended for secondary disinfection because of its
relatively rapid decay (Health Canada, 2008). In addition, operational conditions, such as
temperature and pH, should be considered when selecting a disinfectant, as its effectiveness can
be impacted by these factors. In general, disinfectants are less effective at colder water
temperatures (Table 8).
7.1.3.3 Chemical resistance
Although protozoa can be inactivated through chemical disinfection, they are much more
resistant than bacteria or viruses. In general, Cryptosporidium is much more resistant to chemical
disinfection than Giardia. This is, in part, due to the thick protective wall surrounding the oocyst,
which is difficult to penetrate. CT values required to inactivate Cryptosporidium are
approximately 5–200 times higher than those for Giardia, most notably for chlorine-based
disinfection (Korich et al., 1990; U.S. EPA, 1991; Finch et al., 1994, 1997). Therefore, the
concentration of free chlorine necessary for inactivation of Cryptosporidium is not feasible,
because it would conflict with other water quality requirements (i.e., DBP formation, taste and
odour, etc.). As such, treatment systems that use free chlorine as the primary disinfectant must
remove or inactivate Cryptosporidium by an additional treatment barrier, such as granular media
filtration or UV disinfection. Watershed protection and an intact distribution system are also key
to reducing Cryptosporidium and other waterborne pathogens in drinking water produced by
treatment plants relying upon chlorination.
In addition to differences in disinfectant susceptibility between Giardia and
Cryptosporidium, varying levels of resistance to disinfectants among strains must be considered.
Chauret et al. (2001) observed that a 2 log (99%) inactivation required CT values of 70, 530 and
1000 mg·min/L for three different strains of Cryptosporidium parvum. Differential
susceptibilities to disinfection have also been reported between environmental and laboratory
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
strains (Maya et al., 2003). These findings highlight the importance of considering strain
variability when reviewing treatment removals and potential health risks.
7.1.3.4 Disinfection by-products
In addition to microbial inactivation, chemical disinfection can result in the formation of
DBPs, some of which pose a human health risk. The most commonly used disinfectant, chlorine,
reacts with naturally occurring organic matter to form trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic
acids (HAAs), along with many other halogenated organic compounds (Krasner et al., 2006). The
use of ozone and chlorine dioxide can also result in the formation of inorganic DBPs, such as
bromate and chlorite/chlorate, respectively. When selecting a chemical disinfectant, the potential
impact of DBPs should be considered. It is critical to ensure that efforts made to minimize the
formation of these DBPs do not have a negative impact on the effectiveness of disinfection.
7.1.4 Ultraviolet light disinfection
UV light disinfection is highly effective for inactivating protozoa. UV light is usually
applied after particle removal barriers, such as filtration, in order to prevent shielding by
suspended particles and allow better light penetration through to the target pathogens. Studies
have shown that relatively low UV doses can achieve substantial inactivation of protozoa (Clancy
et al., 1998; Bukhari et al., 1999; Craik et al., 2000, 2001; Belosevic et al., 2001; Drescher et al.,
2001; Linden et al., 2001, 2002; Shin et al., 2001; Campbell and Wallis, 2002; Mofidi et al.,
2002; Rochelle et al., 2002). Based on these and other studies, the U.S. EPA developed UV light
inactivation requirements for Giardia and Cryptosporidium in the LT2ESWTR (U.S. EPA,
2006a). The LT2ESWTR requires UV doses of 12 and 11 mJ/cm2 to receive a 3 log credit for
Cryptosporidium and Giardia removal, respectively (see Table 9). For water supply systems in
Canada, a UV dose of 40 mJ/cm2 is commonly applied (MOE, 2006); thus, protozoa should be
effectively inactivated.
Several recent studies have examined the effect of particles on UV disinfection efficacy,
and most have concluded that the UV dose–response of microorganisms is not affected by
variations in turbidity up to 10 NTU (Christensen and Linden, 2002; Oppenheimer et al., 2002;
Mamane-Gravetz and Linden, 2004; Passantino et al., 2004). However, the presence of humic
acid particles and coagulants has been shown to have a significant impact on UV disinfection
efficacy for two viral surrogates (MS2 coliphage and bacteriophage T4), with lower inactivation
levels being achieved (Templeton et al., 2005). Further research is needed to better understand
their relevance to protozoa inactivation as well as the effect of particles and coagulants on
microbial inactivation by UV light. The hydraulic design of a UV reactor influences the UV dose
delivered to the microorganisms passing through the reactors. The reactor hydraulics should be
such that they allow for all microorganisms to receive the minimum required dose of UV
radiation (U.S. EPA, 2006c).
Table 9. UV dose (mJ/cm2) requirements for up to 4-log (99.99%) inactivation of
Cryptosporidium and Giardia lamblia (oo)cysts (U.S. EPA, 2006a)
UV dose (mJ/cm2) requirements for inactivation
Log inactivation
Cryptosporidium
Giardia
0.5
1
1.6
2.5
1.5
2.1
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1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
3.9
5.8
8.5
12
15
22
3
5.2
7.7
11
15
22
7.1.5 Multi-disinfectant strategy
A multiple disinfectant strategy involving two or more primary disinfection steps (i.e.,
sequential combination of disinfectants ) is effective for inactivating protozoa, along with other
microorganisms, in drinking water. For example, the use of UV light and free chlorine are
complementary disinfection processes that can inactivate protozoa, viruses and bacteria. As UV
light is highly effective for inactivating protozoa (but less effective for viruses) and chlorine is
highly effective for inactivating bacteria and viruses (but less effective for protozoa), the multidisinfectant strategy allows for the use of lower doses of chlorine. Consequently, there is
decreased formation of DBPs. In some treatment plants, ozone is applied for the removal of taste
and odour compounds, followed by chlorine disinfection. In such cases, both the ozone and
chlorine disinfection may potentially be credited towards meeting the overall disinfection,
depending on factors such as the hydraulics of the ozone contactor and the presence of an ozone
residual at the point of contactor effluent collection.
7.1.6 Treatment efficiency
In an effort to better understand and evaluate treatment systems, surrogates have been
used as indicators of microbial inactivation and removal. Both non-biological and biological
surrogates have been used, including polystyrene microspheres and bacterial spores ,respectively.
Microspheres represent a feasible approach to evaluate oocyst removal through filtration (Emelko
et al., 2003; Baeza and Ducoste, 2004; Emelko and Huck, 2004; Amburgey et al., 2005; Tang et
al., 2005). Bacterial spores are not appropriate surrogates of oocyst inactivation, as they are
inactivated more readily than Cryptosporidium and are typically more sensitive to certain
disinfectants (e.g., chlorine dioxide) (Driedger et al., 2001; Larson and Mariñas, 2003; Verhille et
al., 2003). Yeast cells have also been used (Rochelle et al., 2005) for assessing oocyst
inactivation, but additional research on their feasibility is needed.
7.2
Residential scale
Residential-scale treatment is also applicable to small drinking water systems. This would
include both privately owned systems and systems with minimal or no distribution system that
provide water to the public from a facility not connected to a public supply (also known as semipublic systems). Minimum treatment of all supplies derived from surface water sources or
groundwater under the direct influence of surface waters should include adequate filtration (or
equivalent technologies) and disinfection.
An array of options is available for treating source waters to provide high-quality drinking
water. These include various filtration methods, such as reverse osmosis, and disinfection with
chlorine-based compounds or alternative technologies, such as UV light or ozonation. These
technologies are similar to the municipal treatment barriers, but on a smaller scale. In addition,
there are other treatment processes, such as distillation, that can be practically applied only to
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
small water systems. Most of these technologies have been incorporated into point-of-entry
devices, which treat all water entering the system, or point-of-use devices, which treat water at
only a single location—for example, at the kitchen tap.
Semi-public and private systems that apply disinfection typically rely on chlorine or UV
light because of their availability and relative ease of operation. It is important to note that
inactivation of Giardia using free chlorine requires relatively high concentrations and/or contact
times. Chlorination is not effective for inactivation of Cryptosporidium. When applying UV light
in systems with moderate or high levels of hardness, such as groundwater, scaling or fouling of
the UV lamp surface is a common problem Special UV lamp cleaning mechanisms or water
softeners can be used to overcome this scaling problem.
Health Canada does not recommend specific brands of drinking water treatment devices,
but strongly recommends that consumers look for a mark or label indicating that the device has
been certified by an accredited certification body as meeting the appropriate NSF International
(NSF)/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard. These standards have been
designed to safeguard drinking water by helping to ensure the material safety and performance of
products that come into contact with drinking water. For example, treatment units meeting NSF
Standard 55 for Ultraviolet Disinfection Systems (Class A) are designed to inactivate
microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts, from
contaminated water. They are not designed to treat wastewater or water contaminated with raw
sewage and should be installed in visually clear water.
There are also NSF standards for cyst reduction claims; these include NSF Standard 58
for Reverse Osmosis, NSF Standard 53 for Drinking Water Treatment Units and NSF Standard
62 for Drinking Water Distillation Systems. These standards require a removal of 3 logs or better
in order to be certified to a cyst reduction claim. However, they cannot be certified for
inactivation claims, as the certification is only for mechanical filtration.
Certification organizations provide assurance that a product or service conforms to
applicable standards. In Canada, the following organizations have been accredited by the
Standards Council of Canada (SCC) to certify drinking water devices and materials as meeting
the appropriate NSF/ANSI standards:
Canadian Standards Association International (www.csa-international.org);
NSF International (www.nsf.org);
Water Quality Association (www.wqa.org);
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (www.ul.com);
Quality Auditing Institute (www.qai.org); and
International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (www.iapmo.org).
An up-to-date list of accredited certification organizations can be obtained from the SCC
(www.scc.ca).
8.0
Health effects
The health effects associated with exposure to Giardia and Cryptosporidium, like those of
other pathogens, depend upon features of the host, pathogen and environment. The host’s
immune status, the (oo)cyst’s infectivity and the degree of exposure (i.e., number of (oo)cysts
consumed) are all key determinants of infection and illness. Infection with Giardia or
Cryptosporidium can result in both acute and chronic health effects, which are discussed in the
following sections.
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8.1
Giardia
8.1.1 Infection
Theoretically, a single cyst is sufficient, at least under some circumstances, to cause
infection. However, studies have shown that the ID50 (the dose required for infection to be
observed in 50% of the test subjects) is usually more than a single cyst and is dependent on the
virulence of the particular strain. Human adult volunteer feeding trials suggest that the ID50 of
Giardia is around 50 cysts (Hibler et al., 1987), although some individuals can become infected
at a much lower dose (Rendtorff, 1978; Stachan and Kunstýr, 1983). The ID50 of Giardia in
humans can also be extrapolated from dose–response curves. Using this approach, the ID50 for
Giardia in humans is around 35 cysts (Rose and Gerba, 1991), which is comparable to that
reported above. Giardia strains that are well adapted to their hosts (e.g., by serial passage) can
frequently infect with lower numbers of cysts (Hibler et al., 1987). For example, Rendtorff
(1978) reported an ID50 of 19 cysts when using human-source cysts in volunteers.
The prepatent period (time between ingestion of cysts and excretion of new cysts) for
giardiasis is 6–16 days (Rendtorff, 1978; Stachan and Kunstýr, 1983; Nash et al., 1987), although
this can vary, depending on the strain. Research with animal models has shown that smaller
inocula result in longer prepatent periods but do not influence the resulting parasite burden
(Belosevic and Faubert, 1983).
8.1.2 Pathogenesis and immune response
The specific mechanisms by which Giardia causes illness are not well understood, and no
specific virulence factors have been identified. Some suggest that Giardia causes mechanical
irritation or mucosal injury by attaching to the brush border of the intestinal tract. Others have
proposed that Giardia attachment results in repopulation of the intestinal epithelium by relatively
immature enterocytes with reduced absorptive capacities (leading to diarrhoea).
The host–parasite relationship is complex, and Giardia has been shown to be versatile in
the expression of antigens (Nash, 1994), so universal lasting immunity is improbable. Humoral
immune response is revealed by increased levels of circulating antibodies (immunoglobulin G
[IgG] and immunoglobulin M [IgM]) and secretion of antibodies (immunoglobulin A [IgA]) in
milk, saliva and possibly intestinal mucus. These antibodies may play a role in eliminating
disease (Heyworth, 1988), but lasting immunity has not been demonstrated. Very little is known
about cellular immunity, but spontaneous killing of trophozoites by human peripheral blood
monocytes has been described (denHollander et al., 1988).
8.1.3 Symptoms and treatment
Typically, Giardia is non-invasive and results in asymptomatic infections. Based on U.S.
data, 24% of individuals will develop symptomatic illness after infection with Giardia (Macler
and Regli, 1993). Symptomatic giardiasis can result in nausea, anorexia, an uneasiness in the
upper intestine, malaise and occasionally low-grade fever or chills. The onset of diarrhoea is
usually sudden and explosive, with watery and foul-smelling stools (Wolfe, 1984). The acute
phase of the infection commonly resolves spontaneously, and organisms generally disappear
from the faeces. Assemblage A has been associated with mild, intermittent diarrhoea, whereas
assemblage B has been linked to severe, acute or persistent diarrhoea (Homan and Mank, 2001;
Read et al., 2002). Giardia infection can also lead to lactase deficiency (i.e., lactose intolerance)
and a general malabsorptive syndrome. Some patients become asymptomatic cyst passers for a
period of time and have no further clinical manifestations. Other patients, particularly children,
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
suffer recurring bouts of the disease, which may persist for months or years (Lengerich et al.,
1994). In the United States, an estimated 4600 persons per year are hospitalized for severe
giardiasis, a rate similar to that of shigellosis (Lengerich et al., 1994). The median length of
hospital stay is 4 days.
Giardiasis can be treated using a number of drugs, including metronidazole, quinacrine,
furazolidone, tinidazole, ornidazole, nitazoxanide and nimorazole. Olson et al. (1994) showed
that potential for a vaccine exists, but infections and symptoms are only attenuated, and
prevention of infection is not feasible at this time.
8.2
Cryptosporidium
8.2.1 Infection
Although human cryptosporidiosis is not well understood, dose–response information has
become available through human volunteer feeding trials involving immunocompetent
individuals. As is the case for Giardia and other pathogens, a single organism can potentially
cause infection, although studies have shown that more than one organism is generally required
(DuPont et al., 1995; Okhuysen et al., 1998, 2002; Chappell et al., 1999, 2006). Together, these
studies suggest that the ID50 of Cryptosporidium is somewhere between 80 and 1000 oocysts
(DuPont et al., 1995; Chappell et al., 1999, 2006; Okhuysen et al., 2002), indicating that
Cryptosporidium isolates can differ significantly in their infectivity and ability to cause
symptomatic illness. The TAMU isolate of C. parvum (originally isolated from a foal), for
example, was shown to have an ID50 of 9 oocysts and an illness attack rate of 86%, compared
with the UCP isolates of C. parvum (isolated from a calf), which had an ID50 of 1042 oocysts and
an illness attack rate of 59% (Okhuysen et al., 1999). In contrast, the Iowa and Moredun isolates
of C. parvum had an ID50 of 132 and approximately 300 oocysts, respectively, whereas illness
attack rates were similar (i.e., 55–65%) (DuPont et al., 1995; Okhuysen et al., 2002). Based on a
meta-analysis of these feeding studies, the ID50s of the TAMU, UCP and Iowa isolates were
estimated to be 12.1, 2066 and 132 oocysts, respectively (Messner et al., 2001). The genetic basis
for these differences is not known, although a number of virulence factors have been identified
(Okhuysen and Chappell, 2002). In a separate meta-analysis using the TAMU, UCP and Iowa
human study data, the probability of infection from ingesting a single infectious oocyst was
estimated to range from 4% to 16% (U.S. EPA, 2006a). This estimate is supported by outbreak
data, including observations made during the 1993 Milwaukee outbreak (Gupta and Haas, 2004).
The prepatent period for cryptosporidiosis is 4–9 days (Ma et al., 1985; DuPont et al.,
1995; Okhuysen et al., 1999, 2002), although this can vary, depending on the isolate.
8.2.2 Pathogenesis and immune response
Infections of Cryptosporidium spp. in the human intestine are known to cause at least
transient damage to the mucosa, including villous atrophy and lengthening of the crypt (Tzipori,
1983); however, the molecular mechanisms by which Cryptosporidium causes this damage are
unknown. Several molecules are thought to mediate its mobility, attachment and invasion of host
cells, including glycoproteins, lectins and other protein complexes, antigens and ligands
(Okhuysen and Chappell, 2002; Tzipori and Ward, 2002). Most of the pathological data available
have come from AIDS patients, and the presence of other opportunistic pathogens has made
assessment of damage attributable to Cryptosporidium spp. difficult.
The primary mechanism of host defence appears to be cellular immunity (McDonald et
al., 2000; Lean et al., 2002; Riggs, 2002), although humoral immunity is also known to be
involved (Riggs, 2002; Okhuysen et al., 2004; Priest et al., 2006). Studies using animal models
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
have demonstrated the importance of helper (CD4+) T cells, interferon gamma (IFN-γ) and
interleukin 12 (IL-12) in recovery from cryptosporidiosis (Riggs, 2002). Antibody responses
against certain glycoproteins involved in Cryptosporidium adhesion have been demonstrated
(Riggs, 2002).
It is not clear whether prior exposure to Cryptosporidium provides protection against
future infections or disease. Okhuysen et al. (1998) reported that initial exposure to
Cryptosporidium was inadequate to protect against future bouts of cryptosporidiosis. Although
the rates of diarrhoea were similar after each of the exposures, the severity of diarrhoea was
lower after re-exposure. Chappell et al. (1999) reported that volunteers with pre-existing C.
parvum antibodies (suggesting previous infection) exhibited a greater resistance to infection, as
demonstrated by a significant increase in the ID50, compared with those who were antibody
negative. However, in contrast to the earlier findings (Okhuysen et al., 1998), the severity of
diarrhoea (defined by the number of episodes and duration of the illness) was greater among the
subjects presumed previously infected.
8.2.3 Symptoms and treatment
Individuals infected with Cryptosporidium are more likely to develop symptomatic illness
than those infected with Giardia (Macler and Regli, 1993; Okhuysen et al., 1998, 1999). The
most common symptom associated with cryptosporidiosis is diarrhoea, characterized by very
watery, non-bloody stools. The volume of diarrhoea can be extreme, with 3 L/day being common
in immunocompetent hosts and with reports of up to 17 L/day in immunocompromised patients
(Navin and Juranek, 1984). This symptom can be accompanied by cramping, nausea, vomiting
(particularly in children), low-grade fever (below 39°C), anorexia and dehydration.
Extraintestinal cryptosporidiosis (i.e., in the lungs, middle ear, pancreas, etc.) and death have
been reported, primarily among persons with AIDS (Farthing, 2000; Mercado et al., 2007), but
are considered rare.
The duration of infection is dependent on the condition of the immune system (Juranek,
1995) and can be broken down into three categories: 1) immunocompetent individuals who clear
the infection in 7–14 days, 2) AIDS patients or others with severely weakened immune systems
(i.e., individuals with CD4 cell counts <180 cells/mm3) who in most reported cases never
completely clear the infection (it may develop into an infection with long bouts of remission
followed by mild symptoms) and 3) individuals who are immunosuppressed following
chemotherapy, short-term depression or illness (e.g., chickenpox) or malnutrition. In cases where
the immunosuppression is not AIDS related, the infection usually clears (no oocyst excretion, and
symptoms disappear) within 10–15 days of the onset of symptoms. However, there have been
reported cases involving children in which the infection has persisted for up to 30 days. The
sensitivity of diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis by stool examination is low—so low that oocyst
excreters may be counted as negative prematurely. The application of more sensitive and rapid
diagnostic tools, such as immunochromatographical lateral-flow assays, will help to reduce the
number of false negatives (Cacciò and Pozio, 2006). Immunocompetent individuals usually carry
the infection for a maximum of 30 days. With the exception of AIDS cases, individuals may
continue to pass oocysts for up to 24 days. In an outbreak in a daycare facility, children shed
oocysts for up to 5 weeks (Stehr-Green et al., 1987). The reported rate of asymptomatic infection
is believed to be low, but a report on an outbreak at a daycare facility in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, concluded that up to 11% of the children were asymptomatic (Alpert et al., 1986),
and Ungar (1994) discussed three separate studies in daycare centres where the asymptomatic
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
infection rate ranged from 67% to 100%. It has been suggested that many of these asymptomatic
cases were mild cases that were incorrectly diagnosed (Navin and Juranek, 1984).
Nitazoxanide is the only drug approved for treatment of cryptosporidiosis in children and
adults (Fox and Saravolatz, 2005), although more than 200 drugs have been tested both in vitro
and in vivo (Tzipori, 1983; O’Donoghue, 1995; Armson et al., 2003; Cacciò and Pozio, 2006).
This can be explained, in part, by the fact that most inhibitors target biochemical pathways
resident in the apicoplast (plastid-derived organelle) (Wiesner and Seeber, 2005), a structure that
C. parvum (Abrahamsen et al., 2004) and C. hominis (Xu et al., 2004) lack. Some progress has
been reported with furazolidone in reducing the symptoms of immunocompetent patients.
Spiramycin has apparently been used with some success in Chile and the United States, but at
this time it is not licensed for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Janoff and
Reller, 1987).
Analysis of the complete genome sequence of Cryptosporidium may help to identify
virulence determinants and mechanisms of pathogenesis, thereby facilitating the development of
antimicrobials (Umejiego et al., 2004), vaccines (Wyatt et al., 2005; Boulter-Bitzer et al., 2007)
and immunotherapies (Crabb, 1998; Enriquez and Riggs, 1998; Schaefer et al., 2000; Takashima
et al., 2003) against Cryptosporidium.
9.0
Risk assessment
The adoption of a risk-based approach, such as a multi-barrier approach, is essential to the
effective management of drinking water systems (CCME, 2004). This approach should include
assessment of the entire drinking water system, from the watershed/aquifer and intake through
the treatment and distribution chain to the consumer, to assess potential impacts on drinking
water quality and public health.
Current drinking water quality guidelines encourage the adoption of a multi-barrier
approach to produce clean, safe and reliable drinking water. Various indicators, such as indicator
microorganisms, turbidity and disinfectant residuals, are used as part of the multi-barrier
approach to determine the quality of the treated drinking water. For example, E. coli and total
coliforms are bacteriological indicators that are routinely used to verify the microbiological
quality of drinking water. Although indicators are an important aspect of a multi-barrier
approach, they do not provide any quantitative information on pathogens or the potential disease
burden in the population that would be associated with drinking water of a given quality. It is
important to note that even water of an acceptable quality carries some risk of illness, although it
is extremely low.
Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) is gaining acceptance as part of a multibarrier approach. QMRA is a process that uses source water quality data, treatment barrier
information and pathogen-specific characteristics to estimate the burden of disease associated
with exposure to pathogenic microorganisms in a drinking water source. The benefit of using a
QMRA approach is that assessments can be carried out by each water system to provide sitespecific information:
to understand how changes in the source water quality can have an impact on the
microbiological quality of the drinking water being produced;
to look at the adequacy of existing control measures, given site-specific variations;
to investigate potential improvements in microbiological drinking water quality with
additional treatment barriers or optimization of existing treatment barriers; and
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
to help establish limits for critical control points in the treatment system.
Site-specific variations should include the potential impact of hazardous events, such as
storms, contamination events or the failure of a treatment barrier. When interpreting the results
from a QMRA, the following should be considered:
The quality of the data obtained from a QMRA is dependent on the quality of the input
data.
There can be a high level of uncertainty associated with some data (e.g., source water
quality data and pathogen removals by treatment systems).
Assumptions are made in QMRA that may not accurately reflect the condition of the
water system and/or individual exposure to pathogens at every point in time (see Section
9.3.4).
Because of these limitations, QMRA should not be used to try to estimate levels of illness
in a population resulting from a particular water system. Rather, the disease burden estimates
produced from a QMRA are useful for site-specific system evaluations as part of a multi-barrier
approach to safe drinking water.
9.1
Health-based targets
Health-based targets are the “goalposts” or “benchmarks” that have to be met to ensure
the safety of drinking water. In Canada, microbiological hazards are commonly addressed by two
forms of health-based targets: water quality targets and treatment goals. An example of a water
quality target is the bacteriological guideline for E. coli, which sets a maximum acceptable
concentration of this organism in drinking water (Health Canada, 2006a). Treatment goals
describe the reduction in risk to be provided by measures such as treatment processes aimed at
reducing the viability or presence of pathogens. Treatment goals assist in the selection of
treatment barriers and should be defined in relation to source water quality. They need to take
into account not only normal operating conditions, but also the potential for variations in water
quality and/or treatment performance. For example, short periods of poor source water quality
following a storm or a decrease in treatment effectiveness due to a process failure may in fact
embody most of the risk in a drinking water system. The wide array of microbiological pathogens
makes it impractical to measure all of the potential hazards; thus, treatment goals are generally
framed in terms of categories of organisms (e.g., bacteria, viruses and protozoa) rather than
individual pathogens. The health-based treatment goal for Giardia and Cryptosporidium is a
minimum 3 log reduction and/or inactivation of (oo)cysts. Many source waters may require a
greater log reduction and/or inactivation to maintain an acceptable level of risk.
9.2
Acceptable levels of risk
The burden of disease estimates calculated during a risk assessment should be compared
with a reference level of risk—that is, a level of risk that is deemed tolerable or acceptable. This
comparison is needed to understand the public health implications of the disease burden estimate
and is needed to set health-based treatment goals.
Risk levels have been expressed in several ways. WHO’s Guidelines for Drinking-water
Quality (WHO, 2011) use DALYs as a unit of measure for risk. The basic principle of the DALY
is to calculate a value that considers both the probability of experiencing an illness or injury and
the impact of the associated health effects (Murray and Lopez, 1996a; Havelaar and Melse,
2003). The WHO (2011) guidelines adopt 10−6 DALY/person per year as a health target. The
Australian National Guidelines for Water Recycling (NRMMC-EPHC, 2006) also cite this target.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
In contrast, other agencies set acceptable microbial risk levels based on the risk of infection and
do not consider the probability or severity of associated health outcomes. For example, the U.S.
EPA has used a health-based target of an annual risk of infection of less than 1/10 000 (10−4)
persons (Regli et al., 1991).
For comparison, the reference level of 10−6 DALY/person per year is approximately
equivalent to an annual risk of illness for an individual of 1/1000 (10−3) for a diarrhoea-causing
pathogen with a low fatality rate. For an illness with more severe health outcomes, such as a
cancer, 10−6 DALY/person per year is approximately equivalent to a lifetime additional risk of
cancer over background of 10−5 (i.e., 1 excess case of cancer over background levels per 100 000
people ingesting 1.5 L of drinking water containing the substance at the guideline value per day
over a 70-year life span). QMRA is a useful tool in estimating whether a drinking water system
can meet this health target, as current disease surveillance systems in developed nations such as
Canada are not able to detect illness at such a low level.
The risk assessment in this guideline technical document estimates the disease burden in
DALYs. There are several advantages to using this metric. DALYs take into account both the
number of years lost due to mortality and the number of years lived with a disability (compared
with the average healthy individual for the region) to determine the health impact associated with
a single type of pathogenic organism. The use of DALYs also allows for comparison of health
impacts between different pathogens and potentially between microbiological and some chemical
hazards. Although no common health metric has been accepted internationally, DALYs have
been used by numerous groups, and published, peer-reviewed information is available. The WHO
(2011) reference level of 10−6 DALY/person per year is used in this risk assessment as an
acceptable level of risk.
9.3
Quantitative microbial risk assessment approach
QMRA uses mathematical modelling and relevant information from selected pathogens to
derive disease burden estimates. It follows a common approach in risk assessment, which
includes four components: hazard identification, exposure assessment, dose–response assessment
and risk characterization.
9.3.1 Hazard identification
The first step of QMRA is hazard identification, a qualitative process of identifying
hazards to the drinking water system or to human health, such as microorganisms or toxic
chemicals. The enteric protozoa of most concern as human health hazards in Canadian drinking
water sources are Giardia and Cryptosporidium. These organisms can cause serious illness in
immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals. Illness caused by Cryptosporidium is
more serious because it is capable of causing death, particularly in immunocompromised
individuals, and extraintestinal (i.e., lungs, pancreas, etc.) damage can occur.
The presence and types of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in a given drinking water source
are variable. Therefore, it is important to identify all potential sources and events, regardless of
whether they are under the control of the drinking water supplier, that could lead to Giardia and
Cryptosporidium being present at concentrations exceeding baseline levels, on a site-specific
basis. Faeces from humans and other animals are the main sources of enteric protozoa and may
originate from point sources of pollution, such as municipal sewage discharges, or non-point
sources, such as septic tanks and urban or livestock runoff. In addition to the potential sources of
contamination, it is necessary to consider whether the presence of protozoa is continuous or
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
intermittent or has seasonal pollution patterns and how rare events, such as droughts or floods,
will influence the Giardia and Cryptosporidium concentrations in the source water.
Although all enteric protozoa of concern need to be identified, risk assessments do not
usually consider each individual enteric protozoan. Instead, the risk assessment includes only
specific enteric protozoa whose characteristics make them a good representative of all similar
pathogenic protozoa. It is assumed that if the reference protozoan is controlled, this would ensure
control of all other similar protozoa of concern. Ideally, a reference protozoa will represent a
worst-case combination of high occurrence, high concentration and long survival time in source
water, low removal and/or inactivation during treatment and a high pathogenicity for all age
groups. Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia have been selected as the reference
protozoa for this risk assessment because of their high prevalence rates, potential to cause
widespread disease, resistance to chlorine disinfection and the availability of a dose–response
model for each organism.
9.3.2 Exposure assessment
Exposure assessments provide an estimate (with associated uncertainty) of the occurrence
and level of a contaminant in a specified volume of water at the time of the exposure event
(ingestion, inhalation and/or dermal absorption). The principal route of exposure considered in
this risk assessment is consumption of drinking water. To determine exposure, the concentration
of Cryptosporidium or Giardia and the volume of water ingested need to be known or estimated.
Exposure can be determined as a single dose of pathogens ingested by a consumer at one time.
Drinking water is not usually monitored for protozoans. Therefore, to determine exposure,
the concentrations of the reference protozoa in the source water need to be measured or
estimated. Measurements, as opposed to estimates, will result in the highest-quality risk
assessment. Short-term peaks in Cryptosporidium or Giardia concentrations may increase disease
risks considerably and even trigger outbreaks of waterborne disease; thus, seasonal variation and
peak events such as storms should be included in the measurements or estimates. Some of the
factors that should be taken into consideration when determining concentrations in drinking water
are the recovery efficiencies of Cryptosporidium and Giardia concentration and detection
methods, which are much less than 100%, the variability around treatment removal and
inactivation, and the viability or infectivity of the pathogen in the finished water. A variety of
methods can be used to assess (oo)cyst viability and infectivity (see Section 6.6). In this risk
assessment, the (oo)cysts reported in the source water are assumed to be viable and infectious.
Once the source water concentrations are determined, treatment reductions are calculated to
determine the concentration in the finished drinking water. This risk assessment assumes that any
(oo)cysts that were not removed or inactivated during treatment are still capable of causing
infection and illness.
For the volume of water ingested, it is important to consider only the unboiled amount of
tap water consumed, as boiling the water inactivates pathogens and will overestimate exposure
(Gale, 1996; Payment et al., 1997; WHO, 2011). In Canada, approximately 1.5 L of tap water are
consumed per person per day. However, approximately 35% is consumed in the form of coffee or
tea (Health and Welfare Canada, 1981). The elevated temperatures (boiling or near boiling) used
for making coffee and tea would inactivate any enteric pathogens present. Therefore, for
estimating risk from pathogenic organisms, the risk assessment uses an average consumption of
1 L of water per person per day for determining exposure. This estimate is similar to
consumption patterns in other developed nations (Westrell et al., 2006; Mons et al., 2007). WHO,
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41
Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
in its Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, also suggests using an estimate of 1 L for
consumption of unboiled tap water (WHO, 2011).
9.3.3 Dose–response assessment
The dose–response assessment uses dose–response models to estimate the probability of
infection and the risk of illness after exposure to (oo)cysts. The probability of infection (Pinfection)
for this risk assessment is calculated using dose–response models for C. parvum and G. lamblia.
These dose–response data are best explained by the exponential model (Haas et al., 1999):
Pinfection = 1 − e−rµV
(1)
This exponential model describes mathematically the distribution of the individual
probabilities of any one organism to survive and start infection, where V is the single volume of
liquid ingested, µ is the number of organisms per litre in the ingested volume and r is the fraction
of ingested organisms that survive to initiate infection. The r parameter is different for
Cryptosporidium and Giardia. In the case of C. parvum, r = 0.018 (Messner et al., 2001),
whereas for G. lamblia, r = 0.0199 (Rose and Gerba, 1991). The r parameter is derived from
dose–response studies of healthy volunteers and may not adequately represent effects on sensitive
subgroups, such as immunocompromised persons, young children or the elderly.
An individual’s daily dose of organisms is estimated using the information from the
exposure assessment. An individual’s yearly probability of infection is estimated using equation
2. For this risk assessment, it is assumed that there is no secondary spread of infection.
Pinfection/year = 1 − (1 − Pinfection)365
(2)
Not all infected individuals will develop a clinical illness. The risk of illness per year for
an individual is estimated using equation 3:
Risk of illness = Pinfection/year × S × I
(3)
where:
Pinfection/year = the probability of infection obtained from the beta-Poisson model
S
= the proportion of the population susceptible to infection
I
= the proportion of individuals who develop symptomatic illness after infection
The risk assessment is based on I values of 0.70 and 0.24 for Cryptosporidium (Okhuysen
et al., 1998) and Giardia (Macler and Regli, 1993), respectively. S is assumed to be 1.
To translate the risk of illness per year for an individual to a disease burden per person,
the DALY is used as a common unit of risk. The key advantage of the DALY as a measure of
public health is cited as its aggregate nature, combining life years lost (LYL) with years lived
with disability (YLD) to calculate the disease burden. DALYs can be calculated as follows:
DALY = YLD + LYL
where:
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document
42
(4)
Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
YLD
LYL
= the sum of the [(outcome fraction) × (duration) × (severity weight)] for each
health outcome contributing to morbidity
= [(life expectancy) − (age at death)] × severity weight
For Giardia and Cryptosporidium, the health effects vary in severity from mild diarrhoea
to more severe diarrhoea and potentially death. It is important to note that, as no published
mortality information is available for Giardia, this risk assessment assumes that the risk of death
is the same as that for Cryptosporidium. The health burden of gastroenteritis resulting from
infection with Giardia and Cryptosporidium in drinking water is 1.70 DALYs/1000 cases (1.70 ×
10−3 DALY/case) (Table 10).
Table 10. Health burden calculation for Cryptosporidium and Giardia
Health
Outcome
outcome
fractiona Duration of illnessb
Morbidity
Mild
(YLD)
diarrhoea
Mortality (LYL) Death
0.99999 0.01918 year (7 days)
0.00001 Life expectancyd; age at deathe
d
e
DALY/case
0.067
1.29 × 10−3
1
4.15 × 10−4
1.70 × 10−3
Health burden
a
Severity
weightc
Macler and Regli (1993). b Havelaar and Melse (2003). c Murray and Lopez (1996b).
Life expectancy for Canadian population = 78.4 years (Health Canada, 2003).
Age at death is the mean weighted age of the population (assuming no difference in fatality rates between ages) =
36.88.
Using this health burden and the risk of illness per year in an individual, the disease burden
in DALYs/person per year can be estimated:
Disease burden = Risk of illness × Health burden
(5)
where:
Risk of illness
Health burden
= the value calculated from equation 3
= 1.70 × 10−3 DALY/case
9.3.4 Risk characterization
Risk characterization brings together the data collected or estimated on pathogen
occurrence in source water, pathogen removal or inactivation through treatment barriers,
consumption patterns to estimate exposure and pathogen dose–response relationships to estimate
the burden of disease. Using this information, the potential disease burden associated with the
specified drinking water system can be calculated. Example disease burden calculations are
provided in Figures 1 and 3. These calculations have been presented using point estimates;
however, when mathematical models are used for QMRA, the calculations generally include
probability functions with associated uncertainties (Appendix D). The calculated disease burden
can then be compared with the acceptable risk level to determine if the drinking water being
produced is of an acceptable quality. If the disease burden estimate associated with the drinking
water does not meet the acceptable risk level, QMRA can then be used to calculate the level of
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43
Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
treatment that would be required to meet the acceptable health risk target (10−6 DALY/person per
year).
Source water
Treatment Impact
Water Consumption
and
Pathogens Ingested
Dose-Response
Disease Burden
Concentration (per 100L)
13 oocysts
1300 oocysts
Estimated log removal or inactivation
Resultant concentration in drinking water
per 100 L
per 1 L
3 log
5 log
1.3 × 10-2 oocysts
1.3 × 10-4 oocysts
1.3 × 10-2 oocysts
1.3 × 10-4 oocysts
1.3 × 10-4 oocysts
1.3 × 10-4 oocysts
2.3 × 10-6
2.3 × 10-6
8.5 × 10-4
8.5 × 10-4
6.0 × 10-4
6.0 × 10-4
1.0 × 10-6
1.0 × 10-6
1 litre of water consumed per day
Resultant organisms ingested per day
From exponential model calculations:
Probability of infection (per person/day)
(equation 1)
Probability of infection (per person/year)
(equation 2)
Risk of illness (per person/year)
(equation 3)
Disease burden (DALY/person/year)
(equation 5)
Figure 1. Example of a risk assessment for Cryptosporidium, under specified conditions
Note: The volume of water ingested is estimated at 1 L/person per day, as it considers only the unboiled amount of
tap water consumed (see Gale, 1996; WHO, 2011).
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
9
8
Log reduction
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
0.01
0.1
1
10
100
1000
10000
100000
Raw water concentration of Cryptosporidium (oocysts/100 L)
Figure 2. Health-based treatment goal for Cryptosporidium to meet an acceptable level of risk of
10−6 DALY/person per year based on 1 L daily consumption of drinking water
For example, as shown in Figures 1 and 2, when source waters have a concentration of 13
oocysts/100 L and the treatment plant consistently achieves at least a 3-log reduction in oocyst
concentration, the burden of disease in the population would meet the reference level of 10−6
DALY/person per year (less than 1 case/1000 people per year). Although this source water oocyst
concentration falls within the range of oocyst concentrations that would typically be found in
Canadian source waters, many surface water sources will have higher Cryptosporidium
concentrations (see Section 5.0). These higher levels would require a greater log reduction to
meet the acceptable health burden. For example, when source waters have a concentration of
1300 oocyst/100 L, a 5-log reduction in oocyst concentration would have to be achieved in order
to meet the disease burden target.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Source water
Treatment Impact
Water Consumption
and
Pathogens Ingested
Dose-Response
Disease Burden
Concentration (per 100L)
34 cysts
3400 cysts
Estimated log removal or inactivation
Resultant concentration in drinking water
per 100 L
per 1 L
3 log
5 log
3.4 × 10-2 cysts
3.4 × 10-4 cysts
3.4 × 10-2 cysts
3.4 × 10-4 cysts
3.4 × 10-4 cysts
3.4 × 10-4 cysts
6.8 × 10-6
6.8 × 10-6
2.5 × 10-4
2.5 × 10-4
5.9 × 10-4
5.9 × 10-4
1.0 × 10-6
1.0 × 10-6
1 litre of water consumed per day
Resultant organisms ingested per day
From exponential model calculations:
Probability of infection (per person/day)
(equation 1)
Probability of infection (per person/year)
(equation 2)
Risk of illness (per person/year)
(equation 3)
Disease burden (DALY/person/year)
(equation 5)
Figure 3. Example of a risk assessment for Giardia, under specified conditions
Note: The volume of water ingested is estimated at 1 L/person per day, as it considers only the unboiled amount of
tap water consumed (see Gale, 1996; WHO, 2008).
Figures 3 and 4 show that a source water with a concentration of 34 cysts/100 L of water
would require the treatment plant to consistently achieve at least a 3-log reduction in cyst
concentration in order to meet the acceptable reference level of risk. In contrast, a concentration
of 3400 cysts/100 L of water would require the treatment plant to consistently achieve at least a
5-log reduction in cyst concentration in order to meet the acceptable reference level of risk.
Consequently, the health-based treatment goal of a 3-log reduction of Giardia and
Cryptosporidium is a minimum requirement. A site-specific assessment should be done to
determine what level of (oo)cyst reduction is needed for any given source water. Monitoring, as
opposed to estimating, source water Cryptosporidium and Giardia concentrations will result in
the highest-quality risk assessment. However, if measurements are not possible, estimated
concentrations may be based on perceived source water quality. Information obtained from
sanitary surveys, vulnerability assessments and information on other water quality parameters can
be used to help estimate the risk and/or level of faecal contamination in the source water. It is
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document
46
Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
important to consider, as part of the site-specific assessment, events that can significantly change
source water quality, such as hazardous spills or storm events. These will have an important
impact on the treatment required, and including variations in source water quality will provide the
best estimate of the risk in a system. Understanding and planning for the variations that occur in
source water quality create a more robust system that can include safety margins. It is also
important to take into consideration the level of uncertainty that is inherent in carrying out a
QMRA, to ensure that the treatment in place is producing water of an acceptable quality. A
sensitivity analysis using a QMRA model such as the one described in Appendix D can also help
identify critical control points and their limits.
9
8
Log reduction
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
0.01
0.1
1
10
100
1000
10000
100000
Raw water concentration of Giardia (cysts/100 L)
Figure 4. Health-based treatment goal for Giardia to meet an acceptable level of risk of 10−6
DALY/person per year based on 1 L daily consumption of drinking water
In order to illustrate the use of QMRA for a water treatment application, a number of test
scenarios were analysed using treatment plant data from a selected city. This process is detailed
in Appendix F.
9.4
International considerations
QMRA is increasingly being applied by international agencies and governments at all
levels as the foundation for informed decision-making surrounding the health risks from
pathogens in drinking water. WHO, the European Commission, the Netherlands, Australia and
the United States have all made important advances in QMRA validation and methodology
(Staatscourant, 2001; Medema et al., 2006; NRMMC-EPHC, 2006; U.S. EPA, 2006a,b; WHO,
2011). With the exception of the U.S. EPA, these agencies and governments have adopted an
approach that takes full advantage of the potential of QMRA to inform the development of health
targets (i.e., acceptable levels of risk or disease) and site-specific risk management (e.g., water
safety plans, as described in WHO, 2011). Building on the WHO work, the European
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Commission’s MicroRisk project has published an extensive guidance document that establishes
methods and a strong science basis for QMRA of drinking water (Medema et al., 2006).
The Netherlands and the U.S. EPA provide two examples of QMRA-based regulatory
approaches. In the Netherlands, consistent with the WHO approach, water suppliers must conduct
a site-specific QMRA on all surface water supplies to determine if the system can meet a
specified level of risk. Dutch authorities can also require a QMRA of vulnerable groundwater
supplies. In contrast, recent regulatory activity in the United States has seen the U.S. EPA assess
the health risks from waterborne pathogens through QMRA and apply this information to set
nationwide obligatory treatment performance requirements (U.S. EPA, 2006a,b). In general,
drinking water systems must achieve a 3 log removal or inactivation of Giardia (U.S. EPA,
1989). To address risk from Cryptosporidium, drinking water systems must monitor their source
water, calculate an average Cryptosporidium concentration and use those results to determine
whether their source is vulnerable to contamination and requires additional treatment. Water
systems are classified into categories (“bins”) based on whether they are filtered or unfiltered
systems; these bins specify additional removal or inactivation requirements for Cryptosporidium
spp. (U.S. EPA, 2006a).
Health Canada and the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water have
chosen the same approach as WHO (2011), providing QMRA-based performance targets as
minimum requirements, but also recommending the use of a site-specific QMRA as part of a
multi-barrier source-to-tap approach.This QMRA approach offers a number of advantages,
including 1) the ability to compare the risk from representative groups of pathogens (e.g., viruses,
protozoa, bacteria) in an overall assessment; 2) the transparency of assumptions; 3) the potential
to account for variability and uncertainty in estimates; 4) the removal of hidden safety factors
(these can be applied as a conscious choice by regulatory authorities at the end of the process, if
desired); 5) the site-specific identification of critical control points and limits through sensitivity
analysis; and 6) the clear implications of system management on a public health outcome.
10.0 Rationale
Several species and genotypes of Giardia and Cryptosporidium are known to infect
humans. These pathogens are excreted in the faeces of infected persons and animals and can
potentially be found in source water. Their occurrence in source water varies over time and can
be significantly affected by extreme weather or spill/upset events (i.e., increases in (oo)cyst levels
associated with these events). The best way to safeguard against the presence of hazardous levels
of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in drinking water is based on the application of the multi-barrier
approach, including source water protection and adequate treatment, as demonstrated using
appropriate physicochemical parameters, followed by the verification of the absence of faecal
indicator organisms in the finished water. The protection of public health is accomplished by
setting health-based treatment goals. To set health-based treatment goals, the level of risk deemed
tolerable or acceptable needs to be determined. The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on
Drinking Water has chosen this acceptable level of risk as 10−6 DALY/person per year, which is
consistent with the reference level adopted by WHO. This is a risk management decision that
balances the estimated disease burden from Cryptosporidium and Giardia with the lack of
information on the prevalence of these pathogens in source waters, limitations in disease
surveillance and the variations in performance within different types of water treatment
technologies.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Although all enteric protozoa of concern need to be identified, risk assessments do not
usually consider each individual enteric protozoan. Instead, the risk assessment includes only
specific enteric protozoa (reference pathogens or, in this case, reference protozoa) whose
characteristics make them a good representative of all similar pathogenic protozoa. It is assumed
that if the reference protozoa are controlled, this will ensure control of all other similar protozoa
of concern. Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia have been selected as the reference
protozoa for this risk assessment because of their high prevalence rates, potential to cause
widespread disease, resistance to chlorine disinfection and the availability of a dose–response
model for each organism.
In Canada, many surface water sources will have Cryptosporidium and Giardia
concentrations in the range of 1–200 (oo)cysts/100 L of water. The QMRA approach used in this
guideline technical document demonstrates that if a source water has a concentration of (oo)cysts
at the lower end of this range—for example, approximately 13 oocysts/100 L and/or 34 cysts/100
L—a water treatment plant would need to consistently achieve at least a 3 log reduction in
(oo)cyst concentration in order to meet the reference level of 10−6 DALY/person per year. Thus, a
minimum 3 log reduction and/or inactivation of Cryptosporidium and Giardia has been
established as a health-based treatment goal. Many source waters in Canada may require more
than the minimum treatment goal to meet the acceptable level of risk.
QMRA can be used on a site-specific basis to evaluate how variations in source water
quality may contribute to microbiological risk and to assess the adequacy of existing control
measures or the requirement for additional treatment barriers or optimization. In most cases, a
well-operated treatment plant employing effective coagulation, flocculation, clarification,
filtration and disinfection achieving a sufficient CT value should produce water with a negligible
risk of infection from enteric protozoa. Where possible, watersheds or aquifers that are used as
sources of drinking water should be protected from faecal waste.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Appendix A: CT tables for the inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by
chlorine, chlorine dioxide, chloramine and ozone at various temperatures
1a) Chlorine: 99.9% (3 log) inactivation
Table A.1. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 99.9% (3 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 0.5°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
137
163
195
237
277
329
390
0.6
141
169
200
239
286
342
407
0.8
145
172
205
246
295
354
422
1.0
148
176
210
253
304
365
437
1.2
152
180
215
259
313
376
451
1.4
155
184
221
266
321
387
464
1.6
157
189
226
273
329
397
477
1.8
162
193
231
279
338
407
489
2.0
165
197
236
286
346
417
500
2.2
169
201
242
297
353
426
511
2.4
172
205
247
298
361
435
522
2.6
175
209
252
304
368
444
533
2.8
178
213
257
310
375
452
543
3.0
181
217
261
316
382
460
552
Table A.2. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 99.9% (3 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 5°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
97
117
139
166
198
236
279
0.6
100
120
143
171
204
244
291
0.8
103
122
146
175
210
252
301
1.0
105
125
149
179
216
260
312
1.2
107
127
152
183
221
267
320
1.4
109
130
155
187
227
274
329
1.6
111
132
158
192
232
281
337
1.8
114
135
162
196
238
287
345
2.0
116
138
165
200
243
294
353
2.2
118
140
169
204
248
300
361
2.4
120
143
172
209
253
306
368
2.6
122
146
175
213
258
312
375
2.8
124
148
178
217
263
318
382
3.0
126
151
182
221
268
324
389
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Table A.3. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 99.9% (3 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 10°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
73
88
104
125
149
177
209
0.6
75
90
107
128
153
183
218
0.8
78
92
110
131
158
189
226
1.0
79
94
112
134
162
195
234
1.2
80
95
114
137
166
200
240
1.4
82
98
116
140
170
206
247
1.6
83
99
119
144
174
211
253
1.8
86
101
122
147
179
215
259
2.0
87
104
124
150
182
221
265
2.2
89
105
127
153
186
225
271
2.4
90
107
129
157
190
230
276
2.6
92
110
131
160
194
234
281
2.8
93
111
134
163
197
239
287
3.0
95
113
137
166
201
243
292
Table A.4. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 99.9% (3 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 15°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
49
59
70
83
99
118
140
0.6
50
60
72
86
102
122
146
0.8
52
61
73
88
105
126
151
1.0
53
63
75
90
108
130
156
1.2
54
64
76
92
111
134
160
1.4
55
65
78
94
114
137
165
1.6
56
66
79
96
116
141
169
1.8
57
68
81
98
119
144
173
2.0
58
69
83
100
122
147
177
2.2
59
70
85
102
124
150
181
2.4
60
72
86
105
127
153
184
2.6
61
73
88
107
129
156
188
2.8
62
74
89
109
132
159
191
3.0
63
76
91
111
134
162
195
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Table A.5. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 99.9% (3 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 20°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
36
44
52
62
74
89
105
0.6
38
45
54
64
77
92
109
0.8
39
46
55
66
79
95
113
1.0
39
47
56
67
81
98
117
1.2
40
48
57
69
83
100
120
1.4
41
49
58
70
85
103
123
1.6
42
50
59
72
87
105
126
1.8
43
51
61
74
89
108
129
2.0
44
52
62
75
91
110
132
2.2
44
53
63
77
93
113
135
2.4
45
54
65
78
95
115
139
2.6
46
55
66
80
97
117
141
2.8
47
56
67
81
99
119
143
3.0
47
57
68
83
101
122
146
Table A.6. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 99.9% (3 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 25°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
24
29
35
42
50
59
70
0.6
25
30
36
43
51
61
73
0.8
26
31
37
44
53
63
75
1.0
26
31
37
45
54
65
78
1.2
27
32
38
46
55
67
80
1.4
27
33
39
47
57
69
82
1.6
28
33
40
48
58
70
84
1.8
29
34
41
49
60
72
86
2.0
29
35
41
50
61
74
89
2.2
30
35
42
51
62
75
90
2.4
30
36
43
52
63
77
92
2.6
31
37
44
53
65
78
94
2.8
31
37
45
54
66
80
96
3.0
32
38
46
55
67
81
97
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
1b) Chlorine: 90% (1 log) inactivation
Table A.7. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 90% (1 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 0.5°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
46
54
65
79
92
110
130
0.6
47
56
67
80
95
114
136
0.8
48
57
68
82
98
113
141
1.0
49
59
70
84
101
122
146
1.2
51
60
72
86
104
125
150
1.4
52
61
74
89
107
129
155
1.6
52
63
75
91
110
132
159
1.8
54
64
77
93
113
136
163
2.0
55
66
79
95
115
139
167
2.2
56
67
81
99
118
142
170
2.4
57
68
82
99
120
145
174
2.6
58
70
84
101
123
148
178
2.8
59
71
86
103
125
151
181
3.0
60
72
87
105
127
153
184
Table A.8. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 90% (1 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 5°C
pH
Residual
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
32
39
46
55
66
79
93
0.6
33
40
49
57
68
81
97
0.8
34
41
49
58
70
84
100
1.0
35
42
50
60
72
87
104
1.2
36
42
51
61
74
89
107
1.4
36
43
52
62
76
91
110
1.6
37
44
53
64
77
94
112
1.8
38
45
54
65
79
96
115
2.0
39
46
55
67
81
98
118
2.2
39
47
56
68
83
100
120
2.4
40
48
57
70
84
102
123
2.6
41
49
58
71
86
104
125
2.8
41
49
59
72
88
106
127
3.0
42
50
61
74
89
108
130
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Table A.9. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 90% (1 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 10°C
pH
Residual
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
24
29
35
42
50
59
70
0.6
25
30
36
43
51
61
73
0.8
26
31
37
44
53
63
75
1.0
26
31
37
45
54
65
78
1.2
27
32
38
46
55
67
80
1.4
27
33
39
47
57
69
82
1.6
28
33
40
48
58
70
84
1.8
29
34
41
49
60
72
86
2.0
29
35
41
50
61
74
88
2.2
30
35
42
51
62
75
90
2.4
30
36
43
52
63
77
92
2.6
31
37
44
53
65
78
94
2.8
31
37
45
54
66
80
96
3.0
32
38
46
55
67
81
97
Table A.10. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 90% (1 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 15°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
16
20
23
28
33
39
47
0.6
17
20
24
29
34
41
49
0.8
17
20
24
29
35
42
50
1.0
18
21
25
30
36
43
52
1.2
18
21
25
31
37
45
53
1.4
18
22
26
31
38
46
55
1.6
19
22
26
32
39
47
56
1.8
19
23
27
33
40
48
59
2.0
19
23
28
33
41
49
59
2.2
20
23
28
34
41
50
60
2.4
20
24
29
35
42
51
61
2.6
20
24
29
36
43
52
63
2.8
21
25
30
36
44
53
64
3.0
21
25
30
37
45
54
65
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Table A.11. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 90% (1 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 20°C
pH
Residual
(mg/L)
6
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
12
15
17
21
25
30
35
0.6
13
15
18
21
26
31
36
0.8
13
15
18
22
26
32
38
1.0
13
16
19
22
27
33
39
1.2
13
16
19
23
28
33
40
1.4
14
16
19
23
28
34
41
1.6
14
17
20
24
29
35
42
1.8
14
17
20
25
30
36
43
2.0
15
17
21
25
30
37
44
2.2
15
18
21
26
31
38
45
2.4
15
18
22
26
32
38
46
2.6
15
18
22
27
32
39
47
2.8
16
19
22
27
33
40
48
3.0
16
19
23
28
34
41
49
Table A.12. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 90% (1 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at 25°C
pH
Residual
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
8
10
12
14
17
20
23
0.6
8
10
12
14
17
20
24
0.8
9
10
12
15
18
21
25
1.0
9
10
12
15
19
22
26
1.2
9
11
13
15
18
22
27
1.4
9
11
13
16
19
22
27
1.6
9
11
13
16
19
23
28
1.8
10
11
14
16
20
23
29
2.0
10
12
14
17
20
24
29
2.2
10
12
14
17
21
25
30
2.4
10
12
14
17
21
25
31
2.6
10
12
15
18
22
26
31
2.8
10
12
15
18
22
26
32
3.0
11
13
15
18
22
27
32
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
1c) Chlorine: 68.4% (0.5 log) inactivation
Table A.13. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 68.4% (0.5 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at
0.5°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
23
27
33
40
46
55
65
0.6
24
28
33
40
48
57
68
0.8
24
29
34
41
49
59
70
1.0
25
29
35
42
51
61
73
1.2
25
30
36
43
52
63
75
1.4
26
31
37
44
54
65
77
1.6
26
32
38
46
55
66
80
1.8
27
32
39
47
56
68
82
2.0
28
33
39
48
55
70
83
2.2
28
34
40
50
59
71
85
2.4
29
34
41
50
60
73
87
2.6
29
35
42
51
61
74
89
2.8
30
36
43
52
63
75
91
3.0
30
36
44
53
64
77
92
Table A.14. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 68.4% (0.5 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at
5°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
16
20
23
28
33
39
47
0.6
17
20
24
29
34
41
49
0.8
17
20
24
29
35
42
50
1.0
18
21
25
30
36
43
52
1.2
18
21
25
31
37
45
53
1.4
18
22
26
31
38
46
55
1.6
19
22
26
32
39
47
56
1.8
19
23
27
33
40
48
58
2.0
19
23
28
33
41
49
59
2.2
20
23
28
34
41
50
60
2.4
20
24
29
35
42
51
61
2.6
20
24
29
36
43
52
63
2.8
21
25
30
36
44
53
64
3.0
21
25
30
37
45
54
65
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Table A.15. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 68.4% (0.5 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at
10°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
12
15
17
21
25
30
35
0.6
13
15
18
21
26
31
36
0.8
13
15
18
22
26
32
38
1.0
13
16
19
22
27
33
39
1.2
13
16
19
23
28
33
40
1.4
14
16
19
23
28
34
41
1.6
14
17
20
24
29
35
42
1.8
14
17
20
25
30
36
43
2.0
15
17
21
25
30
37
44
2.2
15
18
21
26
31
38
45
2.4
15
18
22
26
32
38
46
2.6
15
18
22
27
32
39
47
2.8
16
19
22
27
33
40
48
3.0
16
19
23
28
34
41
49
Table A.16. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 68.4% (0.5 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at
15°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
8
10
12
14
17
20
23
0.6
8
10
12
14
17
20
24
0.8
9
10
12
15
18
21
25
1.0
9
11
13
15
18
22
26
1.2
9
11
13
15
19
22
27
1.4
9
11
13
16
19
23
28
1.6
9
11
13
16
19
24
28
1.8
10
11
14
16
20
24
29
2.0
10
12
14
17
20
25
30
2.2
10
12
14
17
21
25
30
2.4
10
12
14
18
21
26
31
2.6
10
12
15
18
22
26
31
2.8
10
12
15
18
22
27
32
3.0
11
13
15
19
22
27
33
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Table A.17. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 68.4% (0.5 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at
20°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
6
7
9
10
12
15
19
0.6
6
8
9
11
13
15
18
0.8
7
8
9
11
13
16
19
1.0
7
8
9
11
14
16
20
1.2
7
8
10
12
14
17
20
1.4
7
8
10
12
14
17
21
1.6
7
8
10
12
15
18
21
1.8
7
9
10
12
15
18
22
2.0
7
9
10
13
15
18
22
2.2
7
9
11
13
16
19
23
2.4
8
9
11
13
16
19
23
2.6
8
9
11
13
16
20
24
2.8
8
9
11
14
17
20
24
3.0
9
10
11
14
17
20
24
Table A.18. CT values (in mg·min/L) for 68.4% (0.5 log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia cysts by free chlorine at
25°C
Residual
pH
(mg/L)
6.0
6.5
7.0
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
< 0.4
4
5
6
7
8
10
12
0.6
4
5
6
7
9
10
12
0.8
4
5
6
7
9
11
13
1.0
4
5
6
8
9
11
13
1.2
5
5
6
8
9
11
13
1.4
5
6
7
8
10
12
14
1.6
5
6
7
8
10
12
14
1.8
5
6
7
8
10
12
14
2.0
5
6
7
8
10
12
15
2.2
5
6
7
9
10
13
15
2.4
5
6
7
9
11
13
15
2.6
5
6
7
9
11
13
16
2.8
5
6
8
9
11
13
16
3.0
5
6
8
9
11
14
16
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
2. Chlorine dioxide
Table A.19. CT values (in mg·min/L) for inactivation of Giardia, pH 6.0–9.0
Water temperature (°C)
Log inactivation
1
5
10
15
20
25
0.5
10
4.3
4
3.2
2.5
2
1
21
8.7
7.7
6.3
5
3.7
1.5
32
13
12
10
7.5
5.5
2
42
17
15
13
10
7.3
2.5
52
22
19
16
13
9
3
63
26
23
19
15
11
3. Chloramine
Table A.20. CT valuesa (in mg·min/L) for inactivation of Giardia, pH 6.0–9.0
Water temperature (°C)
Log inactivation
1
5
10
15
20
25
635
365
310
250
185
125
1
1270
735
615
500
370
250
1.5
1900
1100
930
750
550
375
2
2535
1470
1230
1000
735
500
2.5
3170
1830
1540
1250
915
625
3
3800
2200
Values estimated from monochloramine data.
1850
1500
1100
750
0.5
a
4. Ozone
Table A.21. CT values (in mg·min/L) for inactivation of Giardia
Water temperature (°C)
Log inactivation
≤1
5
10
15
20
25
0.5
0.48
0.32
0.23
0.16
0.12
0.08
1
0.97
0.63
0.48
0.32
0.24
0.16
1.5
1.5
0.95
0.72
0.48
0.36
0.24
2
1.9
1.3
0.95
0.63
0.48
0.32
2.5
2.4
1.6
1.2
0.79
0.60
0.4
3
2.9
1.9
1.43
0.95
0.72
0.48
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Appendix B: CT tables for the inactivation of Cryptosporidium oocysts by
chlorine dioxide and ozone at various temperatures
Chlorine dioxide
Table B.1. CT values (in mg·min/L) for inactivation of Cryptosporidium oocysts (U.S. EPA, 2006a)
Water temperature (°C)
Log
inactivationa
a
≤ 0.5
1
2
3
5
7
10
15
20
25
30
0.25
159
153
140
128
107
90
69
45
29
19
12
0.5
319
305
279
256
214
180
138
89
58
38
24
1
637
610
558
511
429
360
277
179
116
75
49
1.5
956
915
838
767
643
539
415
268
174
113
73
2
1275
1220
1117
1023
858
719
553
357
232
150
98
2.5
1594
1525
1396
1278
1072
899
691
447
289
188
122
3
1912
1830
1675
1534
1286
1079
830
Temp
Log inactivation = (0.001506 × (1.09116)
) × CT (U.S. EPA, 2006a).
536
347
226
147
Ozone
Table B.2. CT values (in mg·min/L) for inactivation of Cryptosporidium oocysts (U.S. EPA, 2006a)
Water temperature (°C)
Log
inactivationa
a
≤ 0.5
1
2
3
5
7
10
15
20
25
30
0.25
6
5.8
5.2
4.8
4
3.3
2.5
1.6
1
0.6
0.39
0.5
12
12
10
9.5
7.9
6.5
4.9
3.1
2
1.2
0.78
1
24
23
21
19
16
13
9.9
6.2
3.9
2.5
1.6
1.5
36
35
31
29
24
20
15
9.3
5.9
3.7
2.4
2
48
46
42
38
32
26
20
12
7.8
4.9
3.1
2.5
60
58
52
48
40
33
25
16
9.8
6.2
3.9
3
72
69
63
57
47
39
Temp
Log inactivation = (0.0397 × (1.09757)
) × CT (U.S. EPA, 2006a).
30
19
12
7.4
4.7
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Appendix C: Other enteric waterborne protozoans of interest: Toxoplasma
gondii, Cyclospora cayetanensis and Entamoeba histolytica
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate, intracellular parasite that affects almost all warmblooded animals, including humans. It is usually transmitted by ingestion of tissue cysts through
consumption of raw or undercooked infected meat, by ingestion of sporulated oocysts through
consumption of contaminated food or water or after handling contaminated soil or infected cat
faeces. Oocysts are extremely resistant to environmental conditions, including drying, and appear
to retain their infectivity for several months (at temperatures of −5°C) (Dubey, 1998). Although
this organism tends to cause mild flu-like symptoms, it can be life-threatening for
immunocompromised individuals and pregnant women. Infection can result in mental retardation,
loss of vision, hearing impairment and mortality in congenitally infected children. Little is known
about the distribution of this organism in water sources; however, oocysts have been reported to
survive for up to 17 months in tap water. There have been six reported human outbreaks of
toxoplasmosis linked to ingestion of contaminated soil and water, including an outbreak in
British Columbia in 1995 (Karanis et al., 2007). This outbreak involved 110 acute cases,
including 42 pregnant women and 11 neonates (Bowie et al., 1997), and was thought to be due to
contamination of a water reservoir by domestic and wild cat faeces (Isaac-Renton et al., 1998;
Aramini et al., 1999). Limited information is available on the efficacy of water treatment
processes in removing or inactivating T. gondii. However, because of its size, it should be readily
removed by conventional coagulation/sedimentation and filtration processes. In effect, water
treatment processes applied for the removal/inactivation of Giardia and Cryptosporidium should
be effective against this organism.
Cyclospora cayetanensis is an obligate, intracellular coccidian parasite whose only
natural host is humans (Eberhard et al., 2000). Cyclosporiasis has been reported worldwide but
appears to be endemic throughout the tropics (Soave, 1996). Exact routes of transmission have
yet to be elucidated; however, person-to-person transmission is unlikely (i.e., unsporulated
oocysts are shed in faeces and require a period of maturation). Transmission is likely through
food and water that have been contaminated with human faeces. Cyclospora cayetanensis has
been detected in environmental samples, including water and wastewater, but detection still
represents a challenge; few prevalence studies exist owing to the lack of sensitive methods,
including methods to assess viability and infectivity. Cyclospora cayetanensis infection causes
symptoms that mimic those caused by Cryptosporidium (i.e., nausea, anorexia, diarrhoea, etc.).
Illness is usually self-limiting, but long-term health effects have been reported, including Reiter’s
syndrome. Epidemiological evidence strongly suggests that water can transmit C. cayetanensis.
The first outbreak of cyclosporiasis to be associated with drinking water occurred in 1990 among
hospital staff in Chicago, Illinois (Karanis et al., 2007), and was linked to a chlorinated water
supply, suggesting the C. cayetanensis is resistant to levels of chlorine used in drinking water
treatment. Although the efficacy of drinking water treatment processes for removal and/or
inactivation of C. cayetenensis has not been evaluated, removal by conventional coagulation and
filtration should be at least as effective as for Cryptosporidium, given that C. cayetanenis oocysts
are larger.
Entamoeba histolytica is an obligate parasite that affects humans and other primates.
Humans are the only reservoirs of significance, shedding trophozoites, cysts or both in their
faeces. Entamoeba histolytica can be transmitted through ingestion of faecally contaminated
water and food, but person-to-person contact is thought to be the primary route of transmission.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Most infections are asymptomatic, but some can cause serious illness (i.e., amoebiasis). In the
case of symptomatic infections, diarrhoea, fever and abdominal pain are common. More serious
health effects, including chronic colitis, lower abscesses and death, have been reported (Kucik et
al., 2004). Entamoeba histolytica cysts are resistant to environmental degradation; however, their
survival is primarily a function of temperature. Cysts are rapidly killed by modest heat and
freezing (Gillin and Diamond, 1980). Although no waterborne outbreaks of amoebiasis have been
reported in Canada, outbreaks have been reported in the United States and elsewhere (Karanis et
al., 2007). Outbreaks have occurred when chlorinated water became contaminated with sewage.
Limited information is available on the efficacy of water treatment processes in removing or
inactivating Entamoeba histolytica. However, because of its large cysts, it should be readily
removed by conventional coagulation/sedimentation and filtration processes. In effect, water
treatment processes applied for the removal/inactivation of Giardia and Cryptosporidium should
be effective against this organism.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Appendix D: QMRA model
Mathematical models have been developed as a means to quantitatively assess the
potential microbiological risks associated with a drinking water system, including the potential
risks associated with bacterial, protozoan and viral pathogens. These models have been
developed by international organizations (Smeets et al., 2008; Teunis et al., 2009), as well as by
groups within Canada (Jaidi et al., 2009). QMRA models have also been used to estimate the
potential health risks through other routes of exposure (Mara et al., 2007; Armstrong and Haas,
2008; Diallo et al., 2008). Although some of the assumptions vary between models (i.e., the
choice of reference pathogen or selection of dose–response variables), all are based on the
accepted principles of QMRA—that is, hazard identification, exposure assessment, dose–
response assessment and risk characterization.
A QMRA model was developed by Health Canada as part of the risk assessment process
for enteric pathogens in drinking water. This probabilistic model explores the potential disease
burden, with associated uncertainty, for user-defined scenarios for a drinking water system. The
model includes user inputs for the protozoal quality of the raw water source and the specific
treatment train (defined in terms of filtration and disinfection approaches). Cryptosporidium and
Giardia are used as reference protozoans. For drinking water systems where data are lacking for
the above parameters, the model includes values from published literature and from expert
opinion as a starting point for the assessment. For source water quality, the model provides users
with the choice of four categories. These source water quality estimates were developed only to
be used within the context of the QMRA model for evaluating the impacts of variations in source
water quality on the overall microbiological risks. It should be noted that although a source may
be a particular category for enteric protozoans, it may have a different source water quality
category for bacterial or viral pathogens. For treatment processes, the model uses a range of
literature values to more accurately represent the range of effectiveness of treatment
methodologies.
The QMRA model uses this exposure information, along with the dose–response model
and the DALY calculations for Cryptosporidium and Giardia, to estimate the potential disease
burden (in DALYs/person per year) for the site-specific scenario information. The quality of the
outputs from the QMRA model are dependent on the quality of the information that is input into
the model. Measurements, as opposed to estimates, for exposure levels will result in a higherquality risk assessment output. Even with high-quality exposure data, the QMRA model requires
numerous assumptions that introduce uncertainty into the assessment:
It is assumed that the distribution of (oo)cysts in water is random (Poisson). However, it is
likely that the (oo)cysts are not randomly distributed but rather occur in clusters, either
loosely associated with each other or tightly bound to or within particles (Gale, 1996). Such
clustering means that most consumers will not be exposed, but a small portion will be
exposed to 1 or more (oo)cysts. This model does not account for clustering and will therefore
underestimate the probability of exposure and infection.
Treatment efficiency is modelled based on data in published literature for various treatment
processes, which may be an underestimate or overestimate of the performance at a specific
site. Also, treatment efficiency data are derived using laboratory-adapted strains of
Cryptosporidium and Giardia, which may not respond to treatment processes in exactly the
same manner as the Cryptosporidium and Giardia present in source water.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
It is assumed that all (oo)cysts are viable. The current risk assessment model assumes that
errors caused by overestimating viability are at least partially counterbalanced by poor
(oo)cyst recoveries during the detection procedure.
All (oo)cysts are assumed to be equally infectious. Dose–response experiments have shown
that there can be significant differences in infectivity among different strains of Giardia and
Cryptosporidium. Until routine, practical methods to identify infectious Giardia and
Cryptosporidium (oo)cysts are available, it is desirable, from a health protection perspective,
to assume that all (oo)cysts detected in source waters are infectious to humans, unless
evidence to the contrary exists.
The model assumes a daily consumption of unboiled tap water of 1.0 L/person. In a
population, there will be a distribution of tap water consumption that is not represented by
this point estimate.
The model is based on risks associated with source water contamination and does not
consider potential contamination within the distribution system.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Appendix E: Selecteda Giardia and Cryptosporidium outbreaks related to public, semi-public and private
drinking water systems in Canada (1977-2001)
Date
Location
Causative
agent
Scope of
outbreak
Attributable causes
References
Mar 20 –
Apr 26,
2001
North
Battleford,
SK
Cryptosporidium
25 laboratory confirmed;
5,800 – 7,100 people
estimated to have been
affected
Stirling et al., 2001
Jun 2 – Jul
12, 1996
Cranbrook,
BC
Cryptosporidium
Feb –
May, 1994
Temagami,
ON
Giardia
29 laboratory-confirmed;
107 clinical; estimated
2,000 cases
26 laboratory-confirmed;
between 160 and 330
clinical
-vulnerability of the North Battleford River to
contamination by Cryptosporidium in runoff
(i.e., drinking water intake only 3.5 km
downsteam of the treated sewage outfall)
-poor treatment performance (including
ineffective turbidity removal)
- livestock manure contamination of the
unfiltered, chlorinated water supply
Feb –
May, 1993
KitchenerWaterloo,
ON
Cryptosporidium
143 laboratory-confirmed
Jan – Apr,
1990
Creston &
Erikson,
BC
Penticton,
BC
Creston,
BC
Giardia
124 laboratory-confirmed
Giardia
362 laboratory-confirmed
3,100 estimates cases
83 laboratory-confirmed
Jun – Aug,
Nov, 1986
Nov –
Dec, 1985
a
Giardia
- contamination from human sewage, due to
premature thaw in February, and waste
management problems
- contamination from beaver
- poor filtration performance
- inadequate chlorine disinfection
*Note: No epidemiological evidence reported
to establish association with drinking water
- spring run-off (increased turbidity)
- recycling filter backwash supernatant to the
filters (concentrated oocysts from raw water);
challenged fine-particle removal in the
treatment process
- unfiltered, unchlorinated surface water
- beavers excreting large numbers of Giardia
cysts into water supply
- unfiltered surface water supply using only
chlorine for inactivation of Giardia
- unfiltered, unchlorinated surface water
These represent well-documented outbreaks.
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BCCDC, 1996
Ong et al., 1997,
1999
Wallis et al., 1998
Pett et al., 1993
Welker et al., 1994
Isaac-Renton et al.,
1993, 1994
Moorehead et al.,
1990
Isaac-Renton et al.,
1993
Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Appendix F: QMRA case study
In order to illustrate the use of QMRA for a municipal water treatment application, a
number of test scenarios were analysed using fictional data and Health Canada’s QMRA model
(see Appendix D).
The municipal drinking water system in this case study is supplied by a surface water
treatment plant that draws raw water from a large river. The watershed surrounding the river is
largely wilderness, and generally has low turbidity (3–5 NTU), high colour (35 true colour units)
and dissolved oxygen content (6.5 mg/L). There are only a few small communities upstream of
the city, with minimal wastewater discharges. Large numbers of waterfowl (Canada geese, gulls
and shorebirds) can be found on the river during migration, and some overwinter in areas that do
not freeze completely. A few major tributaries drain agricultural areas, which may contribute
both nutrients and pathogens from animal waste to the river. Thus, this particular source water is
considered to be moderately impacted surface water. Monitoring data for various pathogens in
raw water were collected over a number of years, and the resulting mean concentrations are
shown in Table F1.
Table F1. Summary of typical pathogen concentrations in the river
Pathogen
Mean
Standard
deviations
Cryptosporidium
(no./100L)
8.0
12.0
Giardia
(no./100L)
34.1
72.2
Rotavirus
(no./100L)
56.0
62.0
E.coli
(cfu/100mL)
55.0
55.0
Campylobacter
(cfu/100mL)
10.0
10.0
cfu = colony-forming unit
The water purification plant has a conventional treatment process that includes: coarse
screening, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, dual-media filtration, chlorine disinfection,
pH adjustment and chloramination. The population of the municipality is 100,000 with an
average per capita consumption of 1.0 of unboiled tap water per day. It is assumed that there is
no further treatment or disinfection of the tap water prior to consumption.
Physical removal performance for the treatment process is estimated to be 6.5 log for
Cryptosporidium, 6.0 log for Giardia, 5.6 log for viruses and 2.7 log for bacteria, based on results
from pilot plant challenge studies and full-scale surrogate testing (see Table F2). It is important
to note that, although these log removal rates are higher than for most surface water treatment
plants, they have been validated at pilot scale and full scale for this municipality’s treatment
process when operating under optimum conditions.
For primary disinfection, a typical free chlorine residual of 0.50 mg/L is used following a
60-minute contact time (pH=6.0, temperature=10 ºC). The contact time is based on mean
detention time, rather than the T10 value, as this assessment is aimed at estimating the “actual”
mean reduction through the treatment process.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Example 1: Performance of the existing treatment process
The overall log reductions for the existing treatment process are shown in Table F2.
Table F2. Summary of physical and inactivation log reductions of existing treatment process
Process
Cryptosporidium Giardia Rotavirus
E. coli Campylobacter
Coagulation/sedimentation (log10)
1.3
1.3
1.9
1.5
1.5
Filtration (log10)
5.2
4.7
3.7
1.2
1.2
Chlorine inactivation (log10)
0.0
1.3
> 8.0
> 8.0
> 8.0
Total (log10)
6.5
7.3
> 13.6
> 10.7
> 10.7
Using the QMRA model and the log reductions shown in Table F2, the mean burden of
illness from cryptosporidiosis is estimated to be 1.92 × 10−10 DALY/person per year, and that
from giardiasis is estimated to be 4.51 × 10−11 DALY/person per year; the distribution of the
estimates is shown in Figure F1. Levels of illness in this range would not reasonably be detected
and are well below the reference level of risk of 10−6 DALY/person per year.
Figure F1. Estimated risk for five pathogens
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Example 2: Effect of individual treatment barriers on pathogen risk
Using the same source and treatment data, the effect of each of the treatment barriers on
health risks from the reference pathogens is investigated. Figures F2, F3 and F4 show the mean
number of illnesses and DALYs for raw water with no treatment; physical removal by
coagulation/sedimentation/filtration only; and physical removal by
coagulation/sedimentation/filtration and inactivation by chlorine disinfection, respectively.
Figure F2. Burden of illness for drinking raw water
Figure F2 demonstrates that consumption of raw water (i.e., river water without
treatment) would result in a high risk of gastrointestinal illness and a burden of illness well above
the reference level of risk of 10−6 DALY/person per year, shown as the dotted line on the graph.
In comparison, Figure F3 shows that adding a physical barrier for removal of pathogens (in this
case, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation and filtration) greatly reduces the burden of illness
from Cryptosporidium and Giardia. However, the risk from viral and bacterial pathogens remains
greater than the reference level of risk. Adding a disinfection barrier of free chlorine to the
physical removal (coagulation/sedimentation/filtration) further reduces the risk from E. coli,
Campylobacter and rotavirus to a negligible level, as shown in Figure F4.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Figure F3. Burden of illness for drinking water with physical removal
(Coagulation/Sedimentation/Flocculation/Filtration) of pathogens
Figure F4. Burden of illness for drinking water with full conventional treatment
(Coagulation/Sedimentation/Filtration/Chlorine Disinfection)
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Example 3: Effect of chlorine CT and addition of UV on risk from Giardia
Using Giardia for illustration, a comparison of microbiological risk was made for various
values of CT for disinfection achieved within the treatment plant. Figure F5 depicts the burden of
illness (in DALYs per year for the entire population) as a function of CT in mg·min/L.
The minimum target (shown as the first vertical dashed line) corresponds to a 0.5 log
Giardia disinfection target required to meet regulatory compliance in many jurisdictions. The
“current CT” value indicated is the disinfection level currently being achieved in the treatment
plant, although this level varies somewhat with operating conditions and seasonal temperatures.
The graph does, however, indicate reduction in Giardia health risk for increasing CT.
Figure F5. Giardia-related burden of illness as a function of disinfection CT T Level:
Filtration/Cl2 and Filtration/Cl2+UV
It is important to note that while microbial risk may decrease as the CT value is increased,
DBPs may also be increasing to levels above those recommended in the Guidelines for Canadian
Drinking Water Quality. Adding UV disinfection at a fluence dose of 40 mJ/cm2 reduces
pathogen risk to a level too small to appear on the graph and reflects the added protection of a
multi-disinfectant strategy such as free chlorine + UV disinfection.
Conclusion
It can be seen in this case study that the microbiological risk of drinking water from this
water treatment facility is negligible. The case study overall indicates that the protozoan
pathogens Cryptosporidium and Giardia are key pathogen risks, and filtration is the most
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
significant barrier in reducing those risks. Without the primary disinfection barrier of free
chlorine, however, bacterial pathogens (as represented by the reference pathogens Campylobacter
and E. coli O157:H7) would be a significant pathogen risk in this scenario, because of their high
occurrence levels in the source water and the severe health consequences associated with
infection. Thus, it is evident that both the removal and inactivation barriers are critical to
controlling overall microbiological risks in this drinking water system.
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Enteric protozoa: Giardia and Cryptosporidium (January 2012)
Appendix G: Acronyms and abbreviations
AIDS
ANSI
CC-PCR
CT
DALY
DAPI
DBP
DNA
EPA
FACS
FISH
HCT-8
HIV
ID50
IFA
IFN
Ig
IL
IMS
LT1ESWTR
LT2ESWTR
LYL
mRNA
NSF
NTU
PCR
PI
QMRA
RFLP
rRNA
RT-PCR
SCC
T10
UV
WHO
YLD
acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
American National Standards Institute
cell culture polymerase chain reaction
concentration × time
disability-adjusted life year
4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole
disinfection by-product
deoxyribonucleic acid
Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.)
fluorescently activated cell sorting
fluorescence in situ hybridization
human ileocaecal adenocarcinoma (cell line)
human immunodeficiency virus
median infective dose
immunofluorescence assay
interferon (e.g., IFN-γ)
immunoglobulin (e.g., IgA, IgG, IgM)
interleukin (e.g., IL-12)
immunomagnetic separation
Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (U.S.)
Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (U.S.)
life years lost
messenger ribonucleic acid
NSF International
nephelometric turbidity unit
polymerase chain reaction
propidium iodide
quantitative microbial risk assessment
restriction fragment length polymorphism
ribosomal ribonucleic acid
reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction
Standards Council of Canada
the detention time at which 90% of the water passing through the unit is retained
within the basin
ultraviolet
World Health Organization
years lived with disability
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