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Inverness Medical offers rapid detection of Cryptosporidium infections

Inverness Medical Innovations : 03 July, 2008  (Company News)
Approximately 250,000 people in the Northampton and Daventry area of the UK have been warned that the water borne parasite Cryptosporidium spp has been found in the local water supply.
Cryptosporidium infection causes cryptosporidiosis, characterised by cholera-like diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.

GPs and A andE staff from the affected area have been asked to stay vigilant for signs of cryptosporidiosis. Rapid detection is vital for identifying infection in anyone presenting with gastrointestinal symptoms. Inverness Medical provides three rapid solutions for the detection of Cryptosporidium oocyst antigen: Techlab Cryptosporidium II; Techlab Giardia/Cryptosporidium Chek; and the Biosite Triage Parasitology Panel.

Although contamination of drinking water with Cryptosporidium is uncommon, it has the potential to affect a large number of people. Those particularly at risk of infection are the very young, the elderly, and the immuno-compromised. Providing rapid, time saving devices to aid in the diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis, Inverness Medical offers the Techlab Cryptosporidium II and Techlab Giardia /Cryptosporidium Chek ELISA products. Both tests provide clear qualitative results in less than two hours from patient faecal samples. Techlab Giardia /Cryptosporidium CHEK additionally detects Giardia cyst antigen.

Also from Inverness Medical is the Biosite Triage Parasite Panel, an EIA for the detection of antigens specific for Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica/dispar, and Cryptosporidium parvum . Used as an aid in the diagnosis of intestinal parasitic disease, the Triage Parasite Panel provides rapid results in 15 minutes and is suitable for point of care settings.

In 1993 the largest water borne disease outbreak in the USA occurred in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when one of the two city water plants was contaminated with Cryptosporidium. The outbreak resulted in 403,000 residents becoming ill with gastrointestinal symptoms, with approximately 100 deaths during the outbreak, mostly among the elderly and immuno-compromised patients.

The affected water treatment plants in the Northampton area are currently being treated with ultra-violet light to deactivate the parasite and render it harmless. Residents however are being advised to boil all water for drinking and food preparation, with anyone concerned about their health to contact their GP or call NHS Direct.
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