The journal Epidemiology and Infection has released a study examining Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and Cryptosporium spp. illnesses in Ireland, which over the past decade have had the highest incidence rates in Europe.
Both STEC enteritis and cryptosporidiosis infections exhibit a strong urban-rural partition in Ireland, with both infections having a higher incidence rate in rural areas. Most infections originated from direct contact with farm animals, consumption from private groundwater sources, or high reliance on poorly managed private domestic wastewater treatment systems, such as septic tanks. International studies have reported a link between infection incidence and a broad range of other determinants, including measured deprivation.
The study examined the socioeconomic drivers of infection, which in the past were not completely explored. It concluded that increased local age dependency rates and total population number were associated with the occurrence of both infections, irrespective of settlement type. The study also highlighted population density and vulnerable subpopulations (e.g., lower levels of education and employment) as important drivers of transmission.