What is Cryptosporidiosis?
Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection caused by Cryptosporidium parvum and occasionally other species of Cryptosporidium . Incubation period is about 1 week. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, watery diarrhoea, vomiting and fever. In most people, symptoms last an average of 6 to 10 days but can last up to several weeks. In persons with severely weakened immune systems, cryptosporidiosis can become chronic and can be fatal.
How does it spread?
Cryptosporidiosis occurs worldwide. It is transmitted through ingestion of faecally contaminated food or water, including pool water swallowed while swimming, or from person to person via faecal-oral route (e.g., while changing diapers, caring for an infected person, or faecal exposure during sex).
How can it be prevented?
No vaccine is available. To avoid contracting cryptosporidiosis, travellers should keep their food and personal hygeine. Cryptosporidiosis is poorly inactivated by chlorine or iodine disinfection. Water can be treated effectively by boiling or filtration with an absolute 1-micron filter.
How is it treated?
There is no cure for the disease. Medical advice should be sought especially for the immunodeficient patients. However, the disease usually goes away without treatment in healthy individuals. Travellers are advised to drink enough water to prevent dehydration. Antidiarrhoeal medicine may help relieve diarrhoea, but travellers should consult medical practitioners before taking it.