Sigma Xi Seminar Series
Sponsored by Sigma Xi The Scientific Research Honor Society
Protozoan Problem: Giardia and Cryptosporidium
In Canadian Water
Dr. Peter M. Wallis,
Hyperion Research Ltd., Medicine Hat
Thursday, January 18th 2018, 5 pm
University of Calgary, Biological Sciences Room 211
Abstract: Canada has abundant water resources but there are microbiological issues with drinking water quality. Raw water quality is generally good but two protozoan parasites, Giardia and Cryptosporidium, have caused a number of waterborne outbreaks of disease. The symptoms are gastrointestinal and only rarely fatal but unpleasant in acute cases, particularly in small children and the immunocompromised. Protozoan parasites come from faecal contamination and so water draining more densely populated areas is at greatest risk but animals that may be infected populate even pristine catchment areas. A well known example is giardiasis in beavers, hence the name Beaver Fever that was coined many years ago after outbreaks in resort towns such as Banff and Aspen CO that were traced back to our national symbol. Determining the source of contamination has been difficult historically because it is impossible to determine strains or species by microscopy so molecular methods have been widely used to determine the potential for human pathogenicity.
Bio: Peter Wallis received his B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and completed his M.Sc. and Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo by 1978. Before moving to Medicine Hat, Dr. Wallis spent 12 years as a research scientist at the University of Calgary and managed the Kananaskis Field Station. He was an instructor at Medicine Hat College for 16 years and then became the Dean of Science. Retiring from MHC in 2014, he is now self-employed at Hyperion Research Ltd., which is specialized in the analysis of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in water samples for many years. His active research interests include the development and testing of molecular techniques for the detection and elimination of waterborne protozoan pathogens and the evaluation of well water for potential surface water contamination.
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We also wish to acknowledge the Department of Biological Sciences which has provided the venue