Cryptosporidiosis, a protozoan parasitic disease caused by Cryptosporidium, is an acute short-term infection of the intestines of the mammals. People can get this infection but how do you get Cryptosporidiosis?
Cryptosporidial infection can be transmitted through fecal contaminated food and water that has been in contact of an infected individual or animal. It can spread from animal to person, and also from person to person. Transmission may be fairly high even with a small amount of contamination.
The infection spreads through the ‘fecal-oral’ route wherein the contaminated food is transferred to the mouth and swallowed. It is prevalent amongst people who may be in regular contact with fresh water like swimming pools and wave pools in the amusement water parks. Untreated groundwater and public well water supplies are also sources of contamination. Contamination in food can occur in raw or unheated foods and beverages.
Since the parasite is protected by an outer shell, and is highly resistant to environment, the pathogen survives outside the body for a long time and also can thrive through various filtrations and chemical treatments such as chlorination of drinking water. The parasite spreads through the hardy cysts, which on entering the small intestines, infects the epithelial tissue.
There are several reports of transmission from patients to health care staff and also from patient-to-patient. Some outbreaks related to diaper changes have been noted in the past in day care centers.
For people with normal immunity, the main symptom is self-limiting diarrhea. It is also accompanied by other signs like cramps in the abdomen, headache nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramping and appetite loss.
For people with weaker immune systems and AIDS patients, the symptoms may be particularly severe and potentially fatal.
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