A GIS Approach to Waterborne Infectious Disease: Cryptosporidium
Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes a severe and occasionally fatal diarrhea in humans. It is persistent in the environment because it forms an inert particle (oocyst) that does not become active until it is ingested, at which time it matures into the invasive organism. These oocysts are typically found in water sources (streams and rivers) and represent a continual threat to the urban population. The 1993 outbreak in Milwaukee was clear evidence of this threat, which resulted in 400,000 cases of illness and over a hundred deaths.
Geographical Information Systems (GIS), a data mapping system, was used to map the presence of pathogens and environmental data for both the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers. This technique will assist in analyzing the movement of Cryptosporidium through an environmental system and the associated risk assessment that differs markedly from analysis of other communicable diseases.
May 21, 2007 – December 31, 2009 Progress to Date
Results indicate that in the Milwaukee River, rural water is cleaner than urban water, and the Milwaukee River is cleaner than the Menomonee River (e.g., lower enterococcus concentration).
Center for Urban Population Health’s Center Scientist Development Program through the Wisconsin Partnership Fund
Burlage, R.S. (2009). Safe Food and Water. UWM Board of Directors Meeting (May 28).
Burlage, R.S. (2009). Food and Water Contamination. Radio Interview on UWM Today (April 30).
Burlage, R.S. (2008). Cryptosporidium and our water. On Public Health Series, UW-Milwaukee (December).
Cogswell, A. & Burlage, R. (2007). Transcriptional Regulation of an Early Gene in Cryptosporidium Parvum Oocysts. 47th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Chicago, IL.
Provisional Patent. Measuring Viability in Cryptosporidium Oocysts and other pathogens. R. Burlage and A. Cogswell. 2007. Assigned to UWM Research Foundation, Inc.
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Robert Burlage, PhD
Changshan Wu, PhD
A. Cogswell, Student