Cryptosporidium
Dr. Ira Shah
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Cryptosporidium - Patient Education
What is cryptosporidium ?
Cryptosporidium (pronounced as crypt-o-spore-e-dium) is a germ that mainly affects children and malnourished people and leads to diarrhea. Disease caused by cryptosporidium is called as cryptosporidiosis (pronounced as crypt-o-spore-e-d-o-sis).

How does cryptosporidium spread ?
Cryptosporidium is excreted in stools of infected humans and animals and the cryptosporidium parasite is found in contaminated drinking water, recreational water, soil and food. It spreads by consumption of contaminated food and water.

What are the symptoms of cryptosporidiosis ?
The most common symptom is watery diarrhea. Diarrhea may be severe enough to cause dehydration and weight loss. Sometimes patients may have stomach pain, fever, vomiting and nausea. The diarrhea may last for 2-10 days. In patients with poor immunity, diarrhea may be persistent.

How is cryptosporidiosis diagnosed ?
Testing for cryptosporidia can be difficult and several stool samples may be required to find the parasite.

What is the treatment for cryptosporidiosis ?
Most of the people who have a healthy immune system can recover without treatment. Avoid dehydration, drink lots of water. A new drug called nitazoxanide is used in the treatment of intractable cryptosporidia.

How can be cryptosporidiosis prevented ?
It is a very contagious disease. Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet. Drink boiled and filtered water and eat cooked food. Maintain good personal hygiene.

Is there any vaccine to prevent cryptosporidiosis ?
There is no vaccine to prevent cryptosporidiosis.


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