Gastrointestinal & Zoonoses

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Gastrointestinal & Zoonoses



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.

Incubation period

7 - 10 days, but can be as long as 28 days.


Voluntary laboratory reports and surveillance of general outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease.

Surveillance Tables