Claire Paton

‌‌PhD Student (Environmental Science/Parasitology)

MSci Veterinary Bioscience (University of Glasgow)

Dr David Oliver (University of Stirling)
Dr Richard Quilliam (University of Stirling)
Dr Beth Wells (Moredun Research Institute)
Prof Davy McCracken (SRUC)

Start Date: 1st October 2016

4B141 Cottrell Building
Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467767
fax: +(44) 1786 467843
twitter: @Claire_Paton_92

Research Project

A catchment-based approach to determine environmental controls of Cryptosporidium transfer from land to water

Agricultural operations manipulate the interface between humans and livestock and their environment, which can in turn cause changes in environmental reservoirs of diseases such as Cryptosporidium.  Understanding the response of environmental pathogen reservoirs to such change is vital in order to inform reliable quantitative microbial risk assessment and evaluate future risks to biosecurity, the water industry and human health.

Cryptosporidium spp. are environmentally ubiquitous protozoan parasites, some species of which are zoonotic and can cause gastro-intestinal disease in neonatal livestock and susceptible humans. Livestock, particularly neonatal calves, are currently considered to be the main reservoirs of Cryptosporidium oocysts; however, wildlife have also been reported to contribute to oocyst loading in surface waters. Water is considered an important facilitator in the transmission of Cryptosporidium to humans, and legislation demands that the water industry carries out risk assessments for Cryptosporidium contamination for every public water supply. To strengthen the accuracy of these risk assessments, the water industry is interested in the development of transferable risk-based frameworks but they currently lack information in terms of Cryptosporidium transfer from land to water.

Project goals

  • To explore how environmental reservoirs of Cryptosporidium vary in space and time across contrasting catchment systems
  • To determine the importance of soil-hydrological pathways in enabling connectivity of Cryptosporidium stores with receiving waters, and to examine how they vary over time
  • To develop a transferable risk-based framework to improve decision-making processes in drinking water catchment areas

Funding acknowledgements

This project is jointly funded by the University of Stirling (host institution) and SRUC, with contributions from Scottish Water and the Moredun Research Institute.

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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