The zoonotic transmission of Giardia and Cryptosporidium.Int J Parasitol. 2005 Oct; 35(11-12):1181-90.IJ
The molecular characterisation of Giardia and Cryptosporidium has given rise to a more epidemiological meaningful and robust taxonomy. Importantly, molecular tools are now available for 'typing' isolates of the parasites directly from clinical and environmental samples. As a consequence, information on zoonotic potential has been obtained although the frequency of zoonotic transmission is still poorly understood. Analysis of outbreaks and case-control studies, especially when coupled with genotyping data, is slowly providing information on the public health significance of zoonotic transmission. Such studies support the hypothesis that Cryptosporidium hominis is spread only between humans but that the major reservoir for Cryptosporidium parvum is domestic livestock, predominantly cattle, and that direct contact with infected cattle is a major transmission pathway along with indirect transmission through drinking water. The situation is less clearcut for Giardia duodenalis but the evidence does not, in general, support zoonotic transmission as a major risk for human infections. However, for both parasites there is a need for molecular epidemiological studies to be undertaken in well-defined foci of transmission in order to fully determine the frequency and importance of zoonotic transmission.