Volume 49, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



is an important cause of diarrheal disease in children worldwide. To elucidate the environmental sources of this parasite, we selected an urban slum in Fortaleza, Brazil, a community with a known high incidence of cryptosporidiosis, and examined both stool smears from household animals (n = 127) and filtrates from local water sources (n = 18) for oocysts. Because previous work in this community has demonstrated the seasonal nature of human infection with , collections were made separately for the dry and rainy seasons. Of the 64 stools collected during the dry season (September–December 1990), four (6.3%) were positive by acid-fast staining for . Of the 63 rainy season samples (March–May 1991), nine (14.3%) were positive. Overall, oocysts were detected in 13 (10.2%) of 127 animal stool samples. Freshwater samples were obtained from a variety of sources including open and closed wells, and running city water and then processed. Four of 18 samples (22.2%), including a sample from city water were positive by at least one of two staining techniques (acid-fast and immunofluorescence). In summary, animals may serve as a reservoir of , with potential for the contamination of immediate household water sources. These findings may help to explain the high incidence of cryptosporidiosis among infants in this impoverished community.


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