30 sickened; crypto outbreaks linked to herbs in Sweden, 2010

According to the current issue of Eurosurveillance, one of Sorenne’s favorite journals, the number of sporadic cases of Cryptosporidium identified in the Stockholm county area increased above the expected limit during October 2010. Additionally, two food-borne outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis occurred in two other Swedish cities: Umeå (4 October) and Örebro (9 October). The outbreak investigations did not reveal any responsible food item, however fresh herbs were suspected. Thirty stool samples, originating from all three events, tested positive for Cryptosporidium oocysts. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and subsequent restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) revealed that 27 individuals were infected with C. parvum, two with C. hominis, and one with C. felis. Using sequence analysis of the GP60 glycoprotein gene, a polymorphic marker with high intra-species diversity, we identified the same C. parvum subtype IIdA24G1 in samples from both the Umeå outbreak and the Stockholm area cases, thus indicating a possible outbreak in the Stockholm area and establishing a link between these two events. C. parvum IIdA24G1 has not previously been described in connection with a foodborne outbreak. For the outbreak in Örebro, another subtype was identified: C. parvum IIdA20G1e. These findings demonstrate that subtyping C. parvum isolates using GP60 gene amplification can be used to link cases in an outbreak investigation and we recommend its use in future similar events.

The complete paper is available at http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=20318.