Health Department

 

Chauncy Williams, R.E.H.S./R.S - Director 

Department of Health Services

Email 

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 220
Ennis, TX 75120

Physical Address:
105 S. Preston Street

Ennis, TX 75119

Ph: (972) 875-6442
Fx: (972) 875-8540

healthdept@ennistx.gov

Public Health > Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidiosis

The epidemiology and disease surveillance unit monitors the incidence of confirmed and probable cryptosporidiosis cases reported and issues periodic updates of the status of the investigations.

Cryptosporidiosis is a contagious diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites, Cryptosporidium. Both the disease and the parasite are commonly known as "Crypto.". Crypto can live in the intestine of humans and animals and is passed in the stool of an infected person or animal. During the past two decades, Crypto has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease in humans in the United States.

The following groups have an elevated risk of being exposed to Cryptosporidium:

  • People who swim regularly in pools with insufficient sanitation (Certain strains of Cryptosporidium are chlorine-resistant)
  • Child-care workers
  • Parents of infected children
  • People caring for other people with cryptosporidiosis
  • Backpackers, hikers, and campers who drink unfiltered, untreated water
  • People, including swimmers, who swallow water from contaminated sources
  • People handling infected cattle
  • People exposed to human faeces

Cases of cryptosporidiosis can occur in a city with clean water; cases of cryptosporidiosis can have different origins. Like many fecal-oral pathogens, it can also be transmitted by contaminated food or poor hygiene. Testing of water, as well as epidemiological study, are necessary to determine the sources of specific infections. Cryptosporidium typically does not cause serious illness in healthy people. It may chronically sicken some children, as well as adults exposed and immunocompromised. A subset of the immunocompromised population is people with AIDS. Some sexual behaviours can transmit the parasite directly

Historically cryptosporidiosis has occurrs at low levels in cooler months with increases in cases of cryptosporidium occuring in the summer months.

Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis generally begin 2 to 10 days after becoming infected. The most common symptom is non-bloody, profuse and watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, general malaise and fever. Some people with Crypto will have no symptoms at all. If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention.

In persons with healthy immune systems, symptoms usually last about 1 to 2 weeks. The parasite appears in the stool at the onset of symptoms and is immediately infectious upon excretion and may continue for two weeks after the cessation of symptoms.

Infected people may have Cryptosporidium on their skin; as a result, immersion in the water may wash the parasites off the body. Many outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis have occurred among recreational water users, including chlorinated swimming pools, jacuzzis, water parks, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, ponds and springs.

  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand gels and sanitizers do not kill Cryptosporidium.
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects. See Control Measures for Outbreaks.
  • While you have diarrhea, do not swim in recreational water and refrain for at least 2 weeks after your diarrhea stops.
  • Do not swallow recreational water.
  • Avoid food that might be contaminated.