Cryptosporidiosis
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Cryptosporidiosis

 

Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrhoeal disease caused by the organism Cryptosporidium parvum. It is generally transmitted through contact with animals, drinking water contaminated with faeces, even through swimming pools (it is protected by an outer shell that is resistant to chlorine disinfection). It is transmitted from person to person through the faeco-oral route. 

 
 
Reservoir
The gastro-intestinal tract of infected humans, domestic and wild animals. Water contaminated with faeces is the most common source of cryptosporidium infection.
 
 
Incubation Period
2 – 10 days (average 7 days).
 
 
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms last about 1-2 weeks, often recurring for up to 30 days from start of illness.
 
     
  • Occasionally asymptomatic
  • Watery diarrhoea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Fever
  • Weight Loss
 
Diagnosis
Stool microscopy and immunofluorescence.
 
 
Treatment
 
 
     
  • Treatment not usually required
  • Oral rehydration
  • People who are in poor health or who have weakened immune systems are at higher risk for more severe and prolonged illness.
  • Young children and pregnant women may be more susceptible to dehydration resulting from diarrhea and should drink plenty of fluids while ill.
 
Prevention
 
 
     
  • Good personal hygiene and careful hand washing especially persons in contact with animals.
  • Symptomatic cases should be excluded from food handling, particularly food that will not be consequently cooked.
  • Children should be excluded from child care centres and school until their diarrhoea has stopped – preferably more than 48 hours from last episode of diarrhoea for children under 5 years of age and older children who are unable to maintain good personal hygiene.
  • Exclude symptomatic child carers from direct care of children.
  • Soiled articles should be disinfected.
  • Should avoid swimming in pools for 3 weeks after illness since oocysts can survive in chlorinated water.