Cryptosporidium is a common diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites. Once an animal or person becomes infected, the parasite lives in the intestine and passes in the stool. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very resistant to chlorine-based disinfectants. The disease and the parasite are both commonly referred to as crypto. Over the past two decades, crypto has become one of the most common causes of waterborne and foodborne diseases within humans in the United States. The parasite may be found in drinking water and recreational water in every region of the United States.
Cryptosporidium can be found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have already been contaminated with infected human or animal feces. If a person swallows the parasite they become infected. You cannot become infected through contact with blood. The parasite can be spread additionally by:
- Accidentally putting something into your mouth or swallowing something that has come into contact with feces of a person or animal infected with Cryptosporidium.
- Swallowing recreational water contaminated with Cryptosporidium (Recreational water includes water in swimming pools, hot tubs, jacuzzis, fountains, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, or streams that can be contaminated with sewage or feces from humans or animals.) Note: Cryptosporidium can survive for days in swimming pools with adequate chlorine levels.
- Eating uncooked food contaminated with Cryptosporidium. Thoroughly wash with clean, safe water all vegetables and fruits you plan to eat raw. See below for information on making water safe.
- Accidentally swallowing Cryptosporidium picked up from surfaces (such as bathroom fixtures, changing tables, diaper pails, or toys) contaminated with feces from an infected person.
Symptoms generally begin 2 to 10 days (average 7 days) after becoming infected with the parasite. In persons with healthy immune systems, symptoms usually last about 1 to 2 weeks. The symptoms may go in cycles in which you may seem to get better for a few days, then feel worse again before the illness ends. Common symptoms include:
- Watery diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Stomach cramps or pain
People Most At Risk
- Children who attend day care centers, including diaper-aged children
- Childcare workers
- Parents of infected children
- International travelers
- Backpackers, hikers, and campers who drink unfiltered, untreated water
- Swimmers who swallow water while swimming in swimming pools, lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams
- People who drink from shallow, unprotected wells
- People who swallow water from contaminated sources
- People who have eaten uncooked foods
Legal Help For Victims Affected By Cryptosporidium
If you or a loved one developed the waterborne/foodborne disease Cryptosporidium as a result of drinking contaminated water or eating uncooked food and you suffered serious health ailments, please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).