Cryptosporidiosis, also known as “crypto,” is a highly communicable waterborne diarrheal illness caused by microscopic parasites. Once someone is infected, the parasite lives in the intestine, and passes in the stool for several weeks.
Symptoms of crypto begin to show two to ten days after an infection and can last one to two weeks. Crypto infections affect the digestive and respiratory tracts. Symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps and pain, dehydration, weight-loss, fever, nausea and vomiting.
Transmission of crypto peaks during the summer and early fall, corresponding with the recreational water season. Crypto is resistant to chlorine and can even spread through well-maintained aquatics facilities. Swimmers sick with diarrhea can potentially contaminate a pool by swimming during their diarrheal illness or within two weeks after they have had diarrhea.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Crypto
Is it contagious?
Yes. A person can become infected by swallowing water from a pool or water park contaminated with human feces.
How is it diagnosed?
Your health care provider will ask you to submit stool samples to see if you are infected. Your health care provider should specifically request testing for the parasite.
What is the treatment?
Nitazoxanide has been FDA-approved for people with healthy immune systems and is available by prescription. Consult with your health care provider for information. People who are in poor health or who have weakened systems are at higher risk.
What if I’m not experiencing any symptoms?
Some people will show no symptoms. Others will experience symptoms in cycles before the illness ends.
To report a possible crypto infection or for more information, call 214-819-2004.
Download DCHHS’ crypto prevention flyer by clicking here.
Visit www.cdc.gov/crypto/ or http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/cryptosporidiosis/ for more information.
Read more about other recreational waterborne illnesses.