Studies have shown that climatic factors can significantly influence transmission of many waterborne diseases. However, knowledge of the impact of climate variability on cryptosporidiosis is much less certain. Associations between the incidence of cryptosporidiosis and climatic variables have been reported in several countries. Given that the identified relationships were not consistently reported across studies, it is not known whether these were country-specific observations or can be considered more globally. Variation in the disease risk in both low- and middle-income countries and high-income countries presents new challenges and opportunities to enact responsive changes in research and public health policies. Available epidemiological evidence of the influence of weather and climate on cryptosporidiosis is reviewed. Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria, and most studies showed that the incidence of cryptosporidiosis is highly sensitive to climatic conditions, especially temperature, rainfall and relative humidity. The identified associations varied across studies, with different conditions of importance and lag times across different locations. Therefore, there is a need for countries at risk to assess Cryptosporidium transmission routes based on the spatiotemporal patterns of the disease and what role climate and other socio-ecological changes play in the transmission. Information gathering will then allow us to provide information for evidence-based control strategies and mitigation of transmission. This review offers new perspectives on the role of climate variability on Cryptosporidium transmission. It highlights different epidemiological approaches adopted and provides the potential for future research and surveillance to reduce the disease burden. By evaluating the epidemiological transmission of this organism in high-income countries, all mitigation strategies, for example filtration and water catchment management, can be used as exemplars of preventing infection in low- to middle-income countries.
The authors acknowledge the contribution of the reviewers whose constructive criticism was of guidance in revision of this review.
- public health
- waterborne disease