What is Cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis, an infection known as “Crypto” that causes severe diarrhea.
Many species of this parasite exist that infect humans and a wide range of animals. Although Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium hominis are the most prevalent species causing disease in humans, infections by C. felis, C. meleagridis, C. canis, and C. muris have also been reported.
During the infective stage of the organism, the oocyst is 3 μm in diameter, or about half the size of a red blood cell. The infectious dose is less than 10 organisms and, presumably, one organism can initiate an infection. The mechanism of disease is not known; however, the intracellular stages of the parasite can cause severe tissue alteration.
What are the Symptoms of Cryptosporidium Infection?
The primary symptom of intestinal cryptosporidiosis is severe, watery diarrhea. Symptoms of pulmonary and tracheal cryptosporidiosis include coughing, fever (low-grade), severe abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
How is it Spread?
Cryptosporidium contamination could occur, theoretically, on any food touched by a food handler with the illness. Incidence is higher in child day care centers. Fertilizing salad vegetables in the field with manure is another possible source of human infection. Large outbreaks are associated with contaminated water supplies, including swimming pools. 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 disinfection.
How is it Treated?
To date, there is no known effective drug for the treatment of cryptosporidiosis. Immunodeficient individuals, especially AIDS patients, may have the disease for life, with the severe watery diarrhea contributing to death. Invasion of the pulmonary system may also be fatal.
Lawsuit for Compensation and Justice
Our lawyers have experience litigating these cases. They help people sickened by contaminated food, water, or animals get compensation and justice. Part of this process is uncovering how and why the Cryptosporidium outbreak occurred.