Cryptosporidiosis (crypto) is an illness caused by a parasite. The parasite lives in soil, food, and water. It may also be on surfaces that have been contaminated with feces (poop). You can become infected by swallowing the parasite, if it is in your food, drinking water, or water that you swim in. You can also get it by touching your mouth with contaminated hands.
The most common symptom of crypto is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include
- Weight loss
- Stomach cramps or pain
Contact your health care provider if you have watery diarrhea that lasts more than a few days. Most people with crypto get better without treatment within one to two weeks. But crypto can cause serious problems in people with weak immune systems, like those with HIV/AIDS.
To reduce your risk of crypto, wash your hands often, only drink water that you know is safe, and wash or peel fresh fruits and vegetables before eating.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Diagnosis and Tests
- Cryptosporidium (Crypto) Disease: Diagnosis & Detection (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- O&P (Ova and Parasite) Test (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Cryptosporidium Epidemiology and Risk Factors (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Cryptosporidium: A Guide to Water Filters (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Cryptosporidium: Prevention - Immunocompromised Persons (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Prevention and Control of Cryptosporidiosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Treatments and Therapies
- Cryptosporidium: Treatment (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Cryptosporidium: Infection - Immunocompromised Persons (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Parasites and Foodborne Illness (Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service)
- Travelers' Health: Cryptosporidiosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Cryptosporidiosis (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Human infective potential of Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia duodenalis and Enterocytozoon...
- Article: Cryptosporidium hominis Is a Newly Recognized Pathogen in the Arctic...
- Article: Molecular characterization of human Cryptosporidium spp. isolates after an unusual...
- Cryptosporidiosis -- see more articles