Cryptosporidium first caught the headlines of the CNN news channel, while reporting about contaminated water in swimming pools and the health related problems of the swimmers at large. Prior to this, not many people have been aware of it.


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In the last two decades, due to the lack of public awareness, it’s been difficult for people to discover the true reason for their suffering. While in fact, they have been suffering from cryptosporidiosis, a waterborne disease infecting people in the United States through drinking water and recreational water.

What Is Cryptosporidium?

Cryptosporidium is a germ sickening people with moderate to severe diarrhea, up to 2 weeks long, with accompanying symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fever, weight loss, stomach cramps, pain, etc. Nicknamed as “Crypto”, these parasites enter inside our bodies while we’re in contact with contaminated water. They are immune to chlorine and can survive in different temperatures. Even they can sustain in disinfected water for up to 10 days.

Who Can Get Affected And How?

1. Swimmers who swim in contaminated water
2. People who drink contaminated water
3. People who consume contaminated food and drinks
4. People who are exposed to other people suffering from Crypto
5. People who have a habit of putting their fingers into the mouth.

Susceptible Group

The susceptible group includes swimmers, children using diapers, childcare workers, animal handlers and the parents of the affected children in general. It has also been found that people who drink water from uncovered well or unfiltered water are prone to be infected by Crypto.

Medical Advice Required

Although these parasites are not life-threatening, the patient must seek medical advice in case the watery diarrhea persists for more than 2 weeks. Moreover, people having AIDS or those who are HIV positive must not neglect the symptoms, in order to avoid any further complications.

Probable Complications

Potential medical complications include acute dehydration, fast weight loss, inflammation in the stomach, gallbladder and small intestine, liver inflammation, etc.


For the treatment of people affected by cryptosporidium there are no specific drugs recommended. Doctors usually offer only symptomatic treatment. Those who have a healthy immune system respond to the medicines fast and get well soon. But, sometimes it’s difficult to treat people who are HIV-positive or who have AIDS, due to their compromised immune system.

However, the probable treating methods include:

1. Use of anti-parasitic drugs, such as nitazoxanide
2. Use of anti-motility agents like loperamide
3. Use of anti-retroviral therapy for restoration of the immune system
4. Fluid replacement to prevent dehydration of the patients

It’s safe to conclude that self-medication is not recommendable for any patients. If the infection persists for a longer duration, the affected person must seek for professional medical advice. In severe situations, it’s advisable to keep the patient under medical supervision round the clock.

Parasites – Cryptosporidium (also known as “Crypto”)