Causes and Symptoms of Cryptosporidiosis

Cryptosporidiosis (often called “Crypto”) is a diarrheal disease caused by the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium spp.

During the past 2 decades, Crypto has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne illnesses (drinking and recreational) in humans in the United States. Approximately 200-350 cases of Crypto are diagnosed in Minnesota each year.

On this page:
Fact Sheets
Symptoms
Duration of Illness
Complications
Transmission

Fact Sheets

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • watery diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • stomach cramps
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • slight fever.

Duration of Illness

  • In persons with normal immune systems, symptoms usually last about 2 weeks.
  • The symptoms may go in cycles in which you may seem to get better for a few days, then feel worse, before the illness ends.

Complications

  • For persons with compromised immune systems, for example persons with AIDS, some cancers, or recent organ transplants, the infection may persist indefinitely, and symptoms may be more severe.

Transmission

  • Cryptosporidium can live in the intestines of humans and animals and is passed in the stool of an infected person or animal.
  • Millions of Crypto organisms (oocysts) can be released in the bowel movement of an infected human or animal. You can become infected after accidentally ingesting the oocysts.
  • Crypto may be found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces of infected humans or animals.
  • Any person who has been diagnosed with Crypto should not go swimming while they are having symptoms and for 2 weeks after symptoms resolve.

Do you suspect that you have a foodborne or waterborne illness? Visit reporting suspected foodborne/waterborne illnesses.

 

Updated Thursday, 10-Jul-2014 10:31:35 CDT