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Original article

Vol. 142 No. 3940 (2012)

Cryptosporidium spp. in drinking water

  • Hans Peter Füchslin
  • Thomas Egli
  • Stefan Kötzsch
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2012;142:w13683


In most rural areas and small communities in Switzerland the drinking water is supplied to the consumers after a minimum or even no treatment at all. However, it is just in these areas where drinking water from sources of agricultural activities can be contaminated by liquid manure and faeces of pasturing animals. The Swiss drinking water regulations are limited to the monitoring of E. coli, Enterococcus spp. and total plate counts only. Hence, resistant pathogens, as for example Cryptosporidium spp., remain unnoticed. During a drinking water survey, which lasted from June 2003 to December 2004, water samples were collected from 3 selected rural sites in Switzerland. The drinking water was investigated for Cryptosporidium spp., E. coli, Enterococcus spp., Clostridium perfringens and other parameters. In all samples oocysts of Cryptosporidiumspp. were detected at elevated concentrations of up to 0.18 oocysts/l. Between 28% and 75% of the oocysts were found to be vital by the excystation method. Sampled oocysts collected from the three sites were subjected to genotyping and in one case the isolate was found to belong to the genotype of C. parvum. No evidence for increased incidents of diarrhoea in the past years was noted by local authorities.


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