How is cryptosporidiosis transmitted?

Updated: Nov 11, 2019
  • Author: Melinda B Tanabe, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

The disease is transmitted via the fecal-oral route from infected hosts. Most sporadic infections occur through person-to-person contact. Nonetheless, transmission can also occur following animal contact, ingestion of water (mainly during swimming), or through food. [9, 10, 11] Waterborne outbreaks have resulted from contamination of municipal water and recreational waters (eg, swimming pools, ponds, lakes).

Animal contact can also be associated with transmission of zoonotic species. (See Etiology and Treatment.)

Cryptosporidium has emerged as the most frequently recognized cause of recreational water–associated outbreaks of gastroenteritis, particularly in treated (disinfected) venues. This is because, in the oocyst stage of its life cycle, Cryptosporidium can resist disinfection, including chlorination, and can survive for a prolonged period in the environment. Foodborne outbreaks also occur but with frequency.


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