The epidemiology of cryptosporidiosis in New Zealand, 1997-2006

Snel, Saskia J., Baker, Michael G. and Venugopal, Kamalesh 2009, The epidemiology of cryptosporidiosis in New Zealand, 1997-2006, New Zealand medical journal, vol. 122, no. 1290, pp. 47-61.

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Title The epidemiology of cryptosporidiosis in New Zealand, 1997-2006
Author(s) Snel, Saskia J.
Baker, Michael G.
Venugopal, Kamalesh
Journal name New Zealand medical journal
Volume number 122
Issue number 1290
Start page 47
End page 61
Total pages 15
Publisher New Zealand Medical Association
Place of publication Christchurch, N. Z.
Publication date 2009-02-27
ISSN 0028-8446
Keyword(s) age distribution
disease transmission
environmental exposure
farm animal
geographic distribution
Summary Aims New Zealand has a high incidence of cryptosporidiosis compared to other developed countries. This study aimed to describe the epidemiology of this disease in detail and to identify potential risk factors.

Methods We analysed anonymous cryptosporidiosis notification (1997–2006) and hospitalisation data (1996–2006). Cases were designated as “urban” or “rural” and assigned a deprivation level based on their home address. Association between disease rates and animal density was studied using a simple linear regression model, at the territorial authority level.

Results Over the 10-year period 1997–2006, the average annual rate of notified cryptosporidiosis was 22.0 cases per 100,000 population. The number of hospitalisations was equivalent to 3.6% of the notified cases. There was only 1 reported fatality. The annual incidence of infection appeared fairly stable, but showed marked seasonality with a peak rate in spring (September–November in New Zealand). The highest rates were among Europeans, children 0–9 years of age, and those living in low deprivation areas. Notification rates showed large geographic variations, with rates in rural areas 2.8 times higher than in urban areas, and with rural areas also experiencing the most pronounced spring peak. At the territorial authority (TA) level, rates were also correlated with farm animal density.

Conclusions Most transmission of Cryptosporidium in New Zealand appears to be zoonotic: from farm animals to humans. Prevention should focus on reducing transmission in rural setting, though more research is needed to identify which strategies are likely to be most effective in that environment.
Language eng
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©NZMA
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