Cryptosporidiosis (Cryptosporidium): Causes

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Causes of cryptosporidiosis

Cryptosporidiosis is an illness caused by a microscopic parasite called Cryptosporidium.

How cryptosporidiosis is spread

Cryptosporidium parasite can be spread by: 

  • exposure to contaminated soil
  • eating or drinking contaminated food or water
  • touching surfaces that have been in contact with feces of infected humans or animals

Contaminated water is the most common cause of illness.

People become sick if they swallow the parasite.

Both people and animals can be infected with Cryptosporidium.

How food and water becomes contaminated

Food can become contaminated with Cryptosporidium parasite if it comes into contact with:

  • contaminated water
  • feces from infected humans or animals

Water sources can become contaminated with Cryptosporidium parasite if:

  • feces from infected humans or animals enters the water
  • they are not treated adequately

Where cryptosporidiosis is found

Cryptosporidium parasites are commonly found in:

  • contaminated food and water
  • contaminated surfaces, such as bathroom fixtures
  • intestines and feces of infected humans and animals
  • surface water that has been contaminated by sewage or manure

For more information

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