Volume 58, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Symptoms consistent with an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal cramps) occurred on a U.S. Coast Guard cutter within 0-18 days after the cutter filled its tanks with Milwaukee, Wisconsin city water in March 1993. At three-weeks postdocking (PD), the suspected water was removed, and serum samples and stool specimens were collected from 47 of the 58 crew members, as well as questionnaire data on their water consumption and symptoms aboard the cutter. At 10-weeks PD and/or at 28-weeks PD, additional serum specimens were collected. Intensitometric data from enzyme-linked immunoelectrotransfer blot (EITB) were obtained on IgA responses to a 17-kD antigen group, IgM responses to a 27-kD antigen group, and IgG responses to 27-, 17-, and 15-kD antigen groups extracted from oocysts. In addition, IgG responses to crude oocyst antigens were obtained by ELISA. Based on reported symptoms, EITB results, and stool examination, the crew members were classified as confirmed (10), probable (10), suspected (22), and noncases (16). Of the 10 confirmed cases (all symptomatic) and the 10 probable cases (eight symptomatic) whose stools were positive and negative, respectively, for Cryptosporidium oocysts by microscopy, all showed changes in EITB intensities to the antigen groups and were considered EITB positive. The remaining 38 crew members, 22 suspected cases (all symptomatic), and 16 noncases (all asymptomatic), if tested, had negative stool examinations and were considered EITB negative. Of the 10 confirmed cases, only four showed a significant change in IgG responses (P < 0.05) between three-weeks PD and follow-up serum specimens by ELISA. Crew members considered confirmed cases consumed significantly more water (P < or = 0.005) aboard the cutter than noncases. Crew members considered EITB positive consumed more water (P < or = 0.04) than crew members considered EITB negative while there was no significant difference in water consumption (P > or = 0.19) between crew members considered ELISA positive and ELISA negative. Using the EITB, the observation of changes in intensity of IgA responses to the 17-kD antigen group, IgM responses to the 27-kD antigen group, and IgG responses to the 27- 17-, and 15-kD antigen groups from C. parvum oocysts between acute and convalescent serum specimens appears useful for immunodiagnosis of Cryptosporidium infection and for prospective epidemiologic studies designed to monitor infection risk.


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