2000 Volume 74 Issue 6 Pages 518-526
An outbreak of cryptosporidiosis occurred in Ogose Town, Saitama Prefecture. Japan, in June 1996. Of 12, 345 respondents to a questionnaire sent to households in the town (population; 13, 809), 8, 812 (71.4%) reported an acute gastrointestinal illness some time between May and July. In addition, 274 traceable visitors at local inns, golf courses, and the like during this period and 54 employees from out of town were infected. Cases of cryptosporidiosis were estimated to 9, 140. Of these, 2, 856 subjects were treated at outpatient clinics and 24 subjects were hospitalized (some subjects counted twice). No deaths were attributed to the outbreak. Among the visitors to Ogose who were traced, 7 persons who stayed only one day during the outbreak and drank half a glass to 2 glasses (100 to 360ml) of tap water had cryptosporidiosis confirmed by laboratory tests. The median incubation period for the 14 persons for whom this calculation was possible was 6.4 days (range, 5 to 8 days). Of 469 pupils reporting details of their fever and diarrhea, abdominal cramps, or these combined signs and symptoms, the median maximum body temperature was 37.8t (range, 36.7 to 40.3°C). The duration of illness, reported by 608 of the pupils, was 5.2 days (range, 1 to 15 days), and that reported by 187 employees was 4.8 days (range, 1 to 18 days). The longest known time for discharge of oocysts after onset was 44 days. Blood was not found in the 609 stool specimens examined.
The outbreak was caused by contamination of the town's potable water by Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts. The town's water treatment plant treated river water by coagulation, sedimentation, sandfiltration, and chlorination. Contamination arose because of various natural and artificial factors: one was that the monthly precipitation in May was much lower than average, causing the river water level to drop. Another factor was heavy rainfall one night in May that increased water turbidity. The amounts of the coagulant added seemed to be insufficient. There are two inns, three public lavatories, and two smallscale wastewater treatment plants upstream 400m and 1, 200m of the intake point of the town's water treatment plant. However, there are no farms with livestock in the area. We suggest that the location of the water treatment facilities was inappropriate, and that oocysts had circulated from the potable water to humans to sewage to the river and back to the potable water.