Caoimhe McKerr

Epidemiology of Cryptosporidium and risk factors and exposures for transmission

Personal Statement:

Caoimhe joined the HPRU team in January 2017 as a joint appointment across both EZI and Gastrointestinal Infections, with supervisors Rob Christley, Sarah O’Brien, Roberto Vivancos, and Rachel Chalmers from Public Health Wales.  Her project is around identifying and understanding the populations at risk of Cryptosporidiosis.


Caoimhe was an epidemiologist at the Health Protection Agency for four years, and before that spent four years in local public health. Most recently, she completed a two-year Field Epidemiology/EPIET program with Public Health England and the European Centre for Disease Control, involving various research projects and outbreak investigations across the world. Outside of work, she enjoys family time, reading and 70s rock music.   



Caoimhe Mckerr


Lay Summary:

My project aims to describe Cryptosporidium in the UK – who does it affect the most, and how do we think it spreads?

There are three components to this work which will be assessed together to build a picture of Cryptosporidium.

  1. Systematic literature review which will evaluate the risk factors associated with infections across the world
  2. A household transmission study across the NW of England and Wales which will show how the infection might spread between people who live closely together
  3. A data analysis which will show us how much Cryptosporidium there is each year in the UK, where in the country, and who it affects the most

We hope that this work will help build a picture of Cryptosporidium infection in the UK and identify who is most at risk. That way we can support changes in policy, such as how doctors treat it, or look at what advice we give to people if they are at high risk of infection.


Primary supervisor:

  • Rob Christley – NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, University of Liverpool


  • Rachel Chalmers – Cryptosporidium Reference Unit, Public Health Wales
  • Sarah J O’Brien – Dept. Public Health & Policy & NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Gastrointestinal Infections, University of Liverpool
  • Roberto Vivancos – Field Epidemiology Service, Public Health England & NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, University of Liverpool


Caoimhe McKerr; Rachel M Chalmers; Sarah J O'Brien; Roberto Vivancos; Rob M Christley. Exposures associated with infection with Cryptosporidium in industrialised countries: a systematic review protocol. BMC Systematic Reviews. 2018; 7:70