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Cryptosporidiosis: an emerging, highly infectious threat.
  • Published Date:
    1997 Jan-Mar
  • Source:
    Emerg Infect Dis. 3(1):51-57.
Filetype[PDF - 48.04 KB]


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  • Description:
    Cryptosporidium parvum, a leading cause of persistent diarrhea in developing countries, is a major threat to the U.S. water supply. Able to infect with as few as 30 microscopic oocysts, Cryptosporidium is found in untreated surface water, as well as in swimming and wade pools, day-care centers, and hospitals. The organism can cause illnesses lasting longer than 1 to 2 weeks in previously healthy persons or indefinitely in immunocompromised patients; furthermore, in young children in developing countries, cryptosporidiosis predisposes to substantially increased diarrheal illnesses. Recent increased awareness of the threat of cryptosporidiosis should improve detection in patients with diarrhea. New methods such as those using polymerase chain reaction may help with detection of Cryptosporidium in water supplies or in asymptomatic carriers. Although treatment is very limited, new approaches that may reduce secretion or enhance repair of the damaged intestinal mucosa are under study.