Last Updated: 10/05/2022
Health Care Provider Information on Cryptosporidiosis
Required Disease Reporting
- Reporting Cryptosporidiosis
Health care providers and clinical laboratories are required to report cases and suspect cases to the Minnesota Department of Health.
- Illness-related Restrictions for Food Workers and for Children or Staff in a Child Care or Preschool Setting
Cases are subject to restriction on child care/preschool attendance and food handling.
- Parasites - Cryptosporidium (also known as "Crypto"): Pathogen & Environment
CDC; Causal agent and life cycle of Cryptosporidium.
- Infection with Cryptosporidium spp. results in a wide range of manifestations, from asymptomatic infections to severe, life-threatening illness.
- Watery diarrhea is the most frequent symptom and can be accompanied by abdominal cramps, fatigue, fever, vomiting, anorexia, and weight loss.
- In immunocompetent persons, symptoms are usually short lived (1 to 2 weeks); they can be chronic and more severe in immunocompromised patients
- While the small intestine is the site most commonly affected, symptomatic Cryptosporidium infections have also been found in other organs including other digestive tract organs, the lungs, and possibly conjunctiva.
- Low positive predictive values have been observed when using rapid assays for the diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis. Even though rapid assays can be used as a screening test in higher prevalence populations, rapid-assay positive specimens should be confirmed with other methods. It is important that health care providers are aware of the limitations and proper use of rapid assays in the diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis and that they limit testing to patients who have symptoms characteristic of the disease.
- Submission of clinical materials from positive Cryptosporidium specimens to the Minnesota Department of Health Laboratory (MDH-PHL) is required in accordance with state communicable disease rules. Additional testing of these submitted materials is performed at the MDH-PHL with the results being used to aid public health surveillance.
- DPDx – Laboratory Identification of Parasitic Diseases of Public Health Concern: Stool Specimens
CDC; Information about diagnostic procedures for stool specimens.
- Most people who have healthy immune systems will recover without treatment.
- Diarrhea can be managed by drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Immunocompromised persons are at highest risk for severe illness.
- In HIV infected patients, anti-retroviral therapy, which improves immune status, can reduce oocyst excretion and decrease diarrhea associated with cryptosporidiosis.
- Nitazoxanide has been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of for all patients 1 year of age and older with diarrhea associated with cryptosporidiosis.
- Parasites – Cryptosporidium (also known as “Crypto”): Treatment
CDC; Information about the treatment of cryptosporidiosis.