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Cryptosporidium spp surveillance and epidemiology in Ireland: a longitudinal cohort study employing duplex real-time PCR based speciation of clinical cases
  1. Jennifer K O'Leary1,
  2. Liam Blake2,
  3. Dan Corcoran2,
  4. Kristin Elwin3,
  5. Rachel Chalmers3,
  6. Brigid Lucey1,
  7. Roy D Sleator1
  1. 1 Department of Biological Sciences, Cork Institute of Technology, Bishopstown, Cork, Ireland
  2. 2 Department of Medical Microbiology, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland
  3. 3 Cryptosporidium Reference Unit, Public Health Wales Microbiology and Health Protection, Singleton Hospital, Swansea, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brigid Lucey, Department of Biological Sciences, Cork Institute of Technology, Bishopstown T12 P928, Ireland; brigid.lucey{at}


Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of gastroenteritis (cryptosporidiosis), with significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Irish cryptosporidiosis incidence rates are consistently the highest reported in Europe. A retrospective, longitudinal study of clinical Cryptosporidium isolates was conducted from 2015 to 2018 in Cork, southern Ireland. Overall, 86.5% of cases were attributed to C. parvum, while the remaining 13.5% were caused by C. hominis. Despite the widespread implications of this protozoan parasite in sporadic and outbreak-related illness in Ireland, the current dearth of species-level epidemiological surveillance and clinical studies needs to be addressed in order to elucidate the national impact of this enteric pathogen.

  • cryptosporidium
  • epidemiology
  • PCR
  • molecular biology
  • parasites

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  • Handling editor Tony Mazzulli.

  • Twitter @RoySleator

  • Contributors In terms of contributorship, JO'L conducted the research and wrote the paper under the supervision of BL and RDS, who also contributed to writing of the manuscript. LB and DC were responsible for the generation and acquisition of clinical samples and also contributed to writing of the manuscript. RC and KE were responsible for provision of control genetic material and also contributed to writing of the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Irish Research Council, Ballsbridge, Dublin, Ireland (GOIPG/2014/918).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.