[Avc2020] Cryptosporidium Infections

Leigh Lamont llamont at upei.ca
Mon Oct 31 15:33:53 ADT 2016

Hello Student Veterinarians,

Over the weekend AVC was informed that 3 pre-clinical AVC students have
suffered from a gastrointestinal illness and have tested positive for
*Cryptosporidium*. Logically, one may immediately suspect the calves used
in the teaching laboratories the last couple of weeks and we will be
testing them to investigate this possibility, however, other animals,
people or contaminated water are other potential sources. We will be
sending you all a questionnaire to fill out in the next day or two so that
we can identify risk factors and the most likely source of exposure.

There are a few things that you should remember about *Cryptosporidium*

1.      The average incubation period is 7 (±3) days for *Cryptosporidium*
in humans.  While the incubation period is as short as 2 days or as late as
14 days, this is extremely unusual.  Thus if you had contact with the
calves (if they are the source) >10 days ago, it would be unlikely you will
be getting sick now. However if you get a GI illness consistent with*
Cryptosporidium *after filling out your questionnaire I would appreciate
still being informed.

2.      *Cryptosporidium *has clinical signs similar to other GI infections
but persist for 1-2 weeks, often waxing and waning.  Thus if symptoms
resolve in a few days it is a good chance you had something else. The most
common signs are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps
(sometimes intense).* Cryptosporidium* is a self-limiting disease that does
not usually require medical attention. However, some people become
significantly dehydrated and need intravenous fluid therapy.  People that
are immunosuppressed or are pregnant may have prolonged and more severe
disease requiring medical attention. If you have any concerns about the
severity of your disease please seek medical attention.

3.      *Cryptosporidium *infections can come from many sources.
Waterborne infections are the most common as well as foodborne infections
so there are other potential sources of infection besides the calves.  In
fact other animals can be infected and be potential sources, including dogs
and humans, without any overt clinical disease. Since all animals are
potential sources, you should wear appropriate personal protective
equipment (lab coat/coveralls, washable footwear/boots) and wash your hands
well with soap and water after having contact with any teaching animals
(including beagles). *Cryptosporidium *oocysts are resistant to hand
sanitizers so washing hands is the preferred method for hand hygiene.

4.      Until we get test results on the calves please do not go into their
stalls or pet/touch them.

Finally, anyone that has experienced gastroenteritis or does so in the next
10 days that you think may be *Cryptosporidium* should contact me via email
(jmcclure at upei.ca), call my cell phone (902-394-7231), or contact Dr. Leigh
Lamont.  All conversations will be kept confidential.

J T. McClure, AVC-VTH Infection Control Officer

*Leigh A. Lamont, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVAA*
*Associate Dean, Academic & Student Affairs*
Atlantic Veterinary College
University of Prince Edward Island
550 University Avenue
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 4P3
Tel:  902-566-0374
Fax: 902-566-0846
E-mail:  llamont at upei.ca
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