What is the global prevalence of cryptosporidiosis?

Updated: Nov 11, 2019
  • Author: Melinda B Tanabe, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Cryptosporidiosis is a notifiable disease at the European Union level, and surveillance data are collected through the European Basic Surveillance Network. [27] The crude incidence rate was similar to that in the United States, although considerable differences in the rates of cryptosporidiosis were observed between countries and over time. In resource-limited countries, most infections occur in children.

In a large multicenter study of moderate to severe diarrhea in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, Cryptosporidium was second only to rotavirus as a cause of diarrhea in children younger than 2 years and was associated with 200,000 deaths. [28] A multicenter birth cohort study from Asia, Africa, and Latin America (the malnutrition and enteric disease study) also found Cryptosporidium to be among the top causes of diarrheal disease, and nondiarrheal infection was associated with malnutrition. [5, 29] Studies suggest that the burden of disease related to malnutrition may be greater than that due to diarrhea. [4, 30]

Reported rates are often higher when molecular tests such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are used. [31] For example, investigations using PCR assays have found Cryptosporidium species in 6% of American travelers to Mexico. [32]

In persons with AIDS, cryptosporidiosis is more common in developing countries, affecting 12%-48% of persons with AIDS who have diarrhea. [1, 30, 33, 34]

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