August 14 19:49 2019 Print This Article

Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites of the genus Cryptosporidium. Human illness was formerly thought to be caused by a single species, but recent molecular studies have demonstrated that several different species cause human cryptosporidiosis. Cryptosporidiosis parasites are passed in the stool of infected persons and animals. People get cryptosporidiosis when they swallow the parasites. Approximately 400-500 cases are reported in New York State each year. It is a disease spread through the fecal-oral route; the main symptom is self-limiting diarrhea in people with intact immune system. It is currently thought that the form infecting humans is the same species that causes disease in young calves. The disease is spread through contaminated water or fecal-oral contact (e.g., rimming, or eating contaminated raw foods such as salad). Cryptosporidiosis was added to the list of reportable diseases in New York State in February 1994.

Cryptosporidiosis can be prevented by washing hands, drinking safe water, eating safe food, and avoiding all contact with the stool of infected persons or animals. Infection is through contaminated material such as earth, water, uncooked or cross-contaminated food that has been in contact with the feces of an infected individual or animal. Studies show that Cryptosporidium oocysts are in 65% to 97% of surface water tested around the country. The sporocysts are resistant to most chemical disinfectants, but are susceptible to drying and the ultraviolet portion of sunlight. Cryptosporidiosis occurs when the parasites are taken in by mouth. During the past two decades, crypto has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease within humans in the United States. It is especially common in the young, both in animals and in man. People with weak immune systems may have symptoms for longer periods and repeated illness episodes.

Causes of Cryptosporidiosis

The comman causes of Cryptosporidiosis include the following:

  • You can get cryptosporidiosis by swallowing something that has come into contact with the feces of an infected person or animal.
  • In humans, the main causes of disease are C. parvum and C. hominis. C. canis, C. felis, C. meleagridis, and C. muris can also cause disease in humans.
  • Eating undercooked meats. Inadequately cooked sausages, tripe, faggots and offal have all been blamed for causing this illness in the past.
  • Drinking raw unpasteurised milk.
  • Contact with diapers or clothing that are contaminated with the infection.
  • Swimming in a pool where there has been faecal contamination and inadequate pool maintenance.

Symptoms of Cryptosporidiosis

Some sign and symptoms related to Cryptosporidiosis are as follows:

  • Watery diarrhea.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Abdominal cramping.
  • Nausea.
  • Malnutrition and weight loss (in severe cases).
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dehydration.
  • Slight fever.
  • Malaise.
  • Pain.

Treatment of Cryptosporidiosis

Here is list of the methods for treating Cryptosporidiosis:

  • The recommended treatment is to drink plenty of fluids and to get extra rest.
  • If you have severe diarrhea, you may be given intravenous fluids or anti-diarrheal drugs.
  • One of the best treatments for crypto appears to be antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV.
  • Human Ig for persons with compromised immune systems.
  • Drinking a lot of fluids is important to help prevent dehydration.
  • A new drug called nitazoxanide has been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat children under the age of 12-years that have diarrhea caused by Cryptosporidium.
  • Anti-retroviral therapy for persons with HIV/AIDS.
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