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 people who have weakened immune systems.
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A certain parasite causes cryptosporidiosis. It often enters the body by when you swallow food or drink that has the parasite. It can also be passed from contaminated water, soil, or stool. Common ways include:
Once in the intestine, the parasite comes out of its shell. It then multiplies which causes symptoms.
Risk is higher for:
Most people don’t have symptoms. If they do appear, they may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health. You may have a physical exam and stool tests.
Most people will not need care. The infection will go away on its own.
Care may be needed for those with severe and longer lasting infection. Care may involve:
To lower your chances of cryptosporidiosis:
Wash your hands often, mainly:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
IDSA—Infectious Diseases Society of America
Canadian Public Health Association
Cryptosporidiosis. New York Department of Health website. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/cryptosporidiosis/fact_sheet.htm. Accessed May 29, 2021.
Parasites—cryptosporidium (also known as crypto). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto. Accessed May 29, 2021.
Foodborne illnesses. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905770/Foodborne-illnesses. Accessed May 29, 2021.
Last reviewed May 2021 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated: 6/3/2021