Cryptosporidiosis is an infection of the intestine. It can cause severe diarrhea although some may have no symptoms at all.

Most healthy adults recover from this infection in a few weeks. However, it can be life threatening for young children, the elderly, and very sick people. Cryptosporidosis can be especially difficult in those with compromised immune systems.

The Intestines
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Cryptosporidosis is an infection caused by a parasite. The parasite enters the body by being swallowed. Once in the intestine, the parasite comes out of its shell and multiplies. You can come in contact with the parasite through:

  • Contaminated water (the most common way for the parasite to be transmitted):
    • Accidentally swallowing water in contaminated recreational water such as a lakes, streams, hot tubs, swimming pools, or water parks
    • Drinking water or ice that is contaminated
  • Contact with contaminated diapers or clothing
  • Contact with animal feces by touching animals, cleaning cages, or visiting barns or petting zoos
  • Sexual activity that includes contact with feces
  • Eating food grown in, or contaminated by, infected soil
  • Drinking unpasteurized milk, dairy products, or juice
  • Eating food that was handled by someone who is infected or washed in contaminated water