Dr David Beale from Victoria has developed a test that detects the by-products of Cryptosporidium, which allows the rapid identification of the parasite and a quicker response to ensuring water quality in public pools and water utilities.
“The simplicity of my test means pools and water supplies can be tested proactively instead of reacting to an outbreak,” says David. “Because the test is cheap, they can test water supplies more frequently and more widely, ensuring safer water for families.”
The research, published in Environment Pollution, identified Cryptosporidium by its unique chemical fingerprint. The developed test still requires water samples to be sent to a laboratory for analysis; however, David has plans for a simplified version.
“We want to use this technology to develop a simple test, similar to those available for chlorine and pH, so that mum and dad at home can test their own pool water for this nasty bug and protect their families,” he says.
Cryptosporidium is found in water contaminated with faeces and is resistant to current disinfectant treatments. Thousands of people are infected with the parasite each year, and water utilities and pool operators are hampered in issuing public warnings until an outbreak has occurred.