A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of extreme weather events and other weather-related variables on Cryptosporidium and Giardia in fresh surface waters
Global climate change is expected to impact drinking water quality through multiple weather-related phenomena. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the relationship between various weather-related variables and the occurrence and concentration of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in fresh surface waters. We implemented a comprehensive search in four databases, screened 1,228 unique citations for relevance, extracted data from 107 relevant articles, and conducted random-effects meta-analysis on 16 key relationships. The average odds of identifying Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts in fresh surface waters was 2.61 (95% CI = 1.63–4.21; I2 = 16%) and 2.87 (95% CI = 1.76–4.67; I2 = 0%) times higher, respectively, during and after extreme weather events compared to baseline conditions. Similarly, the average concentration of Cryptosporidium and Giardia identified under these conditions was also higher, by approximately 4.38 oocysts/100 L (95% CI = 2.01–9.54; I2 = 0%) and 2.68 cysts/100 L (95% CI = 1.08–6.55; I2 = 48%). Correlation relationships between other weather-related parameters and the density of these pathogens were frequently heterogeneous and indicated low to moderate effects. Meta-regression analyses identified different study-level factors that influenced the variability in these relationships. The results can be used as direct inputs for quantitative microbial risk assessment. Future research is warranted to investigate these effects and potential mitigation strategies in different settings and contexts.
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