Veterinary students have a higher risk of contracting cryptosporidiosis when calves with high fecal cryptosporidium loads are used for fetotomy exercises

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An outbreak of cryptosporidiosis among veterinary students performing fetotomy exercises on euthanized calves took place in September 2018 in Denmark. A prospective cohort investigation was performed to identify risk factors and provide guidance for preventing outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis in this setting. Ninetyseven students attended the fetotomy exercises and completed a questionnaire about symptoms and potential risk behavior. Real-time PCR was used to detect Cryptosporidium spp. in stool samples from students and to quantify the fecal parasite load in the calves used for the exercises. gp60 subtyping was carried out for the Cryptosporidium-positive samples. Our case definition was based on participation in a fetotomy exercise, reported symptoms, and laboratory results. Eleven laboratoryconfirmed or probable cases (11%) were identified in two outbreaks during the prospective study period, with attack rates of 4/10 (40%) and 7/9 (78%), respectively. The risk factors for cryptosporidiosis we identified were performing the exercise on a diarrheic calf, reporting visible fecal contamination on the personal protective equipment (PPE), and reporting problems with PPE during the exercise. Cryptosporidium parvum IIaA15G2R1 was detected in both cases and calves. A significantly higher proportion of the calves aged 7 days old and above were positive compared with younger calves. Furthermore, a high fecal Cryptosporidium load in a calf was associated with a higher probability of an outbreak among the students. Based on our results, using noninfected calves for the exercises, appropriate use of PPE, and thorough hand hygiene are recommended to reduce the risk of contracting cryptosporidiosis in connection with fetotomy exercises.

TidsskriftApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Udgave nummer19
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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