Cryptosporidiosis (Cryptosporidium): Prevention and risks

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How to prevent cryptosporidiosis

You can reduce your risk of becoming ill from cryptosporidiosis if you:

  • follow general food safety practices
  • avoid water that may be contaminated
  • avoid drinking untreated water from rivers or lakes
  • wash your hands often with clean running water and soap

To help prevent the spread of cryptosporidiosis, public health authorities will issue a boil-water advisory if Cryptosporidium is in municipal drinking water.

If you are unsure of the safety of your drinking water you can:

  • use commercially bottled water
  • use a water filter known to remove parasites
  • boil your water for 1 minute to kill any parasites that may be present

Tips to prevent cryptosporidiosis while travelling

Talk to a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic 6 weeks before you travel.

You can lower your risk by:

Risks of getting cryptosporidiosis

Your risk of getting cryptosporidiosis is highest if you come into contact with contaminated:

  • soil
  • food
  • water
  • feces
  • surfaces

Canadian drinking water is safe as there are systems in place to protect Canadians from Cryptosporidium. If there is a suspected or actual outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis related to drinking water, municipalities will generally issue a boil-water advisory.

Who is most at risk

Cryptosporidium can infect all people although there are some people that are more at risk, such as:

  • pregnant woman
  • young children (under 5 years of age)
  • people with weakened immune systems

The risks of complications

The symptoms usually go away without treatment, but complications such as dehydration can occur in rare cases.

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