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The parasites are suspected to be transmitted from deer to humans

The parasites are suspected to be transmitted from deer to humans

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Cryptosporidium spp. are single-celled parasites that infect the intestinal mucosa and can cause diarrhea, among other things. Cryptosporidium can infect many species of animals, including humans. In humans, the parasite can cause varying degrees of illness, ranging from mild symptoms to severe diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Do deer transmit parasites to humans? The State Veterinary Institute (SVA) wants an answer to this question, so it calls for sampling deer with diarrhea.

The cryptosporidia parasite is the focus of SVA's new research project. Frequent outbreaks occur in humans, usually associated with foods such as lettuce and kale.

Farther ferry

But it is not always possible to determine the source of infection. Since deer are moving into the vegetable farms in question, they want to check whether the animals are transmitting the infection to humans.

However, it is currently unknown to what extent the parasite spreads among deer. The project should survey whether:

The parasite is common in deer.

-Deer with diarrhea are infected with the parasite.

The types of parasites carried by deer are the ones that can infect humans.

“very happy”

-The project started last year and we are very happy with everyone who has helped us so far with samples. In 2023, we received 25 samples from deer with diarrhea, which are now being analysed. We also received 11 deer that had completely self-killed and were able to dissect and sample them. Of the 36 animals, analyzes showed that 22% were positive for cryptosporidia. We are now waiting for analyzes to identify the species so we can find out whether everyone was affected by the same or different species of cryptosporidia, and whether it is a species that infects humans, says Elinor Sporndli Ness, deputy veterinarian at the SVA.

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