TWEL Laura Binkley Thesis

Prevalence of Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Salmonella, Cephalosporin-Resistant E. Coli strains in Canada Goose feces at urban and rural sites in central Ohio

Laura Binkley, MS
Advisor: Robert J. Gates

Thesis

Large populations of resident Canada geese in urban areas pose a threat to both environmental and human health. Existing evidence suggests the importance of waterfowl in disease dissemination and transmission to the human population however definitive data are lacking. The effects of urbanization on zoonotic disease transmission and the pathogens that are of greatest risk to humans in the B. Canadensis population are poorly understood. This study seeks to provide information about the health hazards associated with close contact between the B. Canadensis and human populations, specifically for Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Salmonella, and cephalosporin-resistant E. coli strains. Canada goose fecal samples were collected at both rural and urban sites throughout the Greater Columbus. My central hypothesis was that prevalence of pathogens would be higher in urban areas than rural areas due to more opportunities for contact between humans and geese in urban areas. I also hypothesized that there will be higher pathogen prevalence during the molt period than the post-molt period because resident geese often become more localized during this time. My third major hypothesis is that cephalosporin-resistant E. coli strains will be present in Canada goose fecal samples in the Greater Columbus area. This is thought to come from exposure to livestock waste where antimicrobial resistance has previously been found. The significance of this study is to provide information that will inform the public about the hazards associated with resident Canada goose populations and to help prevent transmission between the two populations. It will enhance understanding of infectious disease ecology so that this information can be applied to other transmission pathways.