Cryptosporidiosis – an emerging zoonotic threat in cattle herds (the KRYPTO project)
The Cryptosporidiosis – an emerging zoonotic threat in cattle herds (KRYPTO) project investigates why cryptosporidiosis is on the rise in Finland. The cryptosporidium protozoan causes gastrointestinal inflammation (cryptosporidiosis) both in humans and in animals.
The disease is easily transmitted to humans through the faeces of another person or animal, as well as from contaminated food or swimming and drinking water. The disease may require hospitalization and can be fatal. The number of human cases has increased rapidly over the past few years. The fact that the disease has become more common among ruminants constitutes a work-related risk factor on dairy farms and calf raising facilities.
Cattle farms need guidelines that take into account, for example, calf farms, medications, disinfection instructions in different circumstances as well as guidelines for moving animals, occupational safety, manure handling and disease management. Agricultural occupational health care service providers need practical guidelines for the prevention and diagnosis of infections.
Materials and techniques
The study will examine the epidemiology of cryptosporidiosis in Finland and promote the management and control of infections in cattle and humans in many ways. The project will identify the factors that contribute to the spread of infections and outbreaks on farms and, on the other hand, the factors that protect against outbreaks.
The project consists of five work packages:
- Spread of infections and how to control them in cattle farms
- Improved occupational safety risk management
- Better identification of human infections
- Molecular epidemiology of infections
- Preparation for waterborne epidemics
Results and effectiveness
Livestock farmers and farm-level solutions play an important role in preventing the spread of animal diseases. At the level of livestock, the industry will experience the benefits of the project in terms of improved occupational safety and reduced sickness costs for employees as well as improved calf health and growth, lesser need for medications, economic growth and well-being.
Advice from the agricultural occupational health service providers aims to prevent human infections by using the right working methods. In addition, occupational health care service providers will learn to suspect the possibility of cryptosporidiosis in the event of an employee's illness, so that diagnostics and infection control measures can be correctly targeted. The significance of cryptosporidiosis as a work-related disease is recognized and the cases can be classified as such.
Funding and project partners
Finnish Food Authority (coordinator of the project), Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Animal Health ETT, University of Helsinki, Valio Oy and European Union Reference Laboratory for Parasites.
The project is funded by the Development Fund for Agriculture and Forestry.
project manager, senior specialist