Waterborne transmission of protozoan parasites: review of worldwide outbreaks - an update 2004-2010

Water Res. 2011 Dec 15;45(20):6603-14. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2011.10.013. Epub 2011 Oct 20.


The present update gives a comprehensive review of worldwide waterborne parasitic protozoan outbreaks that occurred and were published globally between January 2004 and December 2010. At least one hundred and ninety-nine outbreaks of human diseases due to the waterborne transmission of parasitic protozoa occurred and were reported during the time period from 2004 to 2010. 46.7% of the documented outbreaks occurred on the Australian continent, 30.6% in North America and 16.5% in Europe. Cryptosporidium spp. was the etiological agent in 60.3% (120) of the outbreaks, Giardia lamblia in 35.2% (70) and other protozoa in 4.5% (9). Four outbreaks (2%) were caused by Toxoplasma gondii, three (1.5%) by Cyclospora cayetanensis. In two outbreaks (1%) Acanthamoeba spp. was identified as the causative agent. In one outbreak, G. lamblia (in 17.6% of stool samples) and Cryptosporidium parvum (in 2.7% of stool samples) as well as Entamoeba histolytica (in 9.4% of stool samples) and Blastocystis hominis (in 8.1% of stool samples) were detected. In those countries that are likely affected most a lack of surveillance systems is noticeable. However, countries that established surveillance systems did not establish an international standardization of reporting systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Outbreaks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Parasites / physiology*
  • Protozoan Infections / epidemiology*
  • Protozoan Infections / transmission*
  • Water Microbiology*