Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by the Cryptosporidium parasite, also referred to as "Crypto". Crypto lives in the intestine of infected animals and humans and is passed through stool.
What causes infection with cryptosporidiosis?
Crypto is primarily transmitted by swallowing water contaminated with the feces from infected animals or humans. In addition to contaminated drinking water, recreational water from swimming pools, hot tubs, fountains, lakes, rivers, ponds or streams can also carry Crypto. Crypto is chlorine-resistant and can live for days in chlorine-treated water.
Limiting yourself to one or two alcoholic drinks per day may significantly lessen the chances of developing alcoholic pancreatitis. Once you have had pancreatitis, though, you should not drink at all; any drinking carries the risk of new attacks.
Controlling your weight and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle may prevent gallstones and help reduce the risk of gallstone pancreatitis.
Some people with Crypto do not have symptoms. But most people will have watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include:
Nausea and vomiting.
Symptoms usually begin 2 to 10 days after becoming infected. Symptoms can last 1 to 2 weeks. Sometimes symptoms come and go in cycles. You may feel better for a few days and then feel worse again before the illness is over.
How are infections with cryptosporidiosis diagnosed?
Your doctor will request stool samples, sometimes several, and send them to a laboratory for testing.
How is it treated?
Most people with healthy immune systems will recover without special treatment. Dehydration caused by diarrhea is the most common
complication. Do not use medicines to prevent diarrhea until you ask your health care professional.
prevent dehydration, take frequent sips of a rehydration drink (such as Pedialyte). Try to drink a cup of water or rehydration drink
for each large, loose stool you have. Soda and fruit juices have too much sugar and not enough of the
electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea, and they
should not be used to rehydrate.
Some people are treated with the prescription medicine nitazoxanide.
How can you prevent Crypto?
You can help prevent the spread of Crypto by washing your hands frequently and carefully with soap and scrubbing all surfaces that may come in contact with feces from humans or animals. Do not use public swimming pools during and at least 2 weeks after diarrhea stops. When possible, keep children who have diarrhea away from uninfected children.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
February 8, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 08, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this