Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that is found in the feces of infected humans or animals. Humans are infected when they ingest contaminated water or food, or touch contaminated objects, then touch their mouth before washing their hands well. Cryptosporidiosis, the disease caused by Cryptosporidium, is one of the most common causes of diarrhea among persons with AIDS in the U.S.
- Avoid sexual practices that may result in exposure to feces.
- Avoid drinking water directly from lakes, rivers, ponds, or streams.
- Avoid swimming in lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, public swimming pools, or recreational water parks.
- Avoid working with diaper-aged children.
- Avoid contact with feces of all animals, particularly young farm animals such as calves.
- Always wash hands thoroughly: after any contact with animals, after any contact with soil (e.g., gardening), after changing diapers, before eating, or before preparing food.
- Consume only water that has been purified by boiling for 1 minute, or by treatment with certain filters.
25L of service water are to be filtered with a cellulose-acetate membrane (CAM) filter to determine the presence of the Cryptosporidium oocysts. The entrapped oocysts are removed from the filter by an eluting solution (1% Tween 80) and identified by direct immunofluorescence.
A pilot study on 335 stool samples of symptomatic and asymptomatic (control) individuals demonstrated that Cryptosporidium oocysts were present. 42 out of 285 (15%) stool samples for the symptomatic individuals were positive, whilst 5 out of 50 (10%) stool samples for the asymptomatic individuals were positive.