In this study the putative protective seroprevalence (PPS) of IgG antibodies to the 27-kDa and 15/17-kDa Cryptosporidium antigens in sera of healthy participants who were and were not exposed to Cryptosporidium oocysts via surface water-derived drinking water was compared. The participants completed a questionnaire regarding risk factors that have been shown to be associated with infection. The PPS was significantly greater (49-61%) in settlements where the drinking water originated from surface water, than in the control city where riverbank filtration was used (21% and 23%). Logistic regression analysis on the risk factors showed an association between bathing/swimming in outdoor pools and antibody responses to the 15/17-kDa antigen complex. Hence the elevated responses were most likely due to the use of contaminated water. Results indicate that waterborne Cryptosporidium infections occur more frequently than reported but may derive from multiple sources.
Keywords: Cryptosporidium; infectious disease epidemiology; water-borne infections.