Cryptosporidium parvum infection has been recorded in a wide range of mammalian
species including cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea
pigs, rodents and humans. Human infection may be acquired by three main routes:
from other people, from animals and from drinking water contaminated from either
agricultural or human sewage sources. Those at increased risk of disease associated
with infection include people with occupational exposure to animals, such as farmers,
veterinarians and slaughterhouse workers. Immunocompromised people are at greater
risk of severe disease. Cryptosporidium is the fourth most commonly identified
cause of human gastrointestinal infection in the UK and incidence rates are highest
in young children, and during the spring and summer months.
Main clinical features
Diarrhoea, which may contain mucus, but rarely blood, lasting from 2 days to 4 weeks,
which may be accompanied by vomiting (especially children), anorexia and abdominal
pain. The infection is usually more severed and protracted, and may be life threatening,
in those who are severely immunocompromised, such as those with AIDS.
7 - 10 days, but can be as long as 28 days.
Voluntary laboratory reports and surveillance of general outbreaks of infectious