Cryptosporidiosis is an infection in the intestines. It is a minor problem for most people. But, it can be life-threatening for young children, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems.
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A certain parasite causes cryptosporidiosis. It often enters the body through food or drink that has the parasite. It can also be passed from contaminated water, soil, or stool (poop). Common ways are:
The infection is more common in children 2 years of age or less. Other things that raise the risk are:
Most people do not have symptoms. If symptoms happen, they may cause:
These symptoms can lead to dehydration.
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam and stool tests may be done.
In most people, the infection goes away on its own.
Treatment may be needed for those with severe and longer lasting infection. It may involve:
To reduce the risk of cryptosporidiosis:
Wash hands often, mainly:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
IDSA—Infectious Diseases Society of America
Canadian Public Health Association
Cryptosporidiosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cryptosporidiosis. Accessed August 25, 2021.
Cryptosporidiosis. New York Department of Health website. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/cryptosporidiosis/fact_sheet.htm. Accessed August 25, 2021.
Desai AN. Cryptosporidiosis. JAMA. 2020;323(3):288.
Foodborne illnesses. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/foodborne-illnesses. Accessed August 25, 2021.
Parasites—cryptosporidium (also known as crypto). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto/. Accessed August 25, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated: 8/25/2021