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Cryptosporidiosis: What is it?

Cryptosporidiosis ("Crypto") is a diarrheal illness caused by Cryptosporidium parvum, a microscopic parasite that lives in the intestines of infected humans and animals. The most common symptoms are diarrhea (loose, watery stools), stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes fever. Cases usually rise in the summer months when people do the most swimming and water recreation.

In 2007 the state of Idaho had 517 confirmed cases of crypto, but cases have decreased since then due to increased public health practices.

To prevent Crypto:

  • Wash hands after using the toilet and changing diapers
  • Make sure that children and adults have showered with soap before entering pools and other public water sources
  • Avoid swallowing water from lakes, rivers, streams, springs, irrigation canals, ponds, swimming pools, etc.
  • Do not swim if you have diarrhea
  • Do not hesitate to call your health care provider with any questions or concerns.

Additional Resources

Recreational Water Illness (Crypto) TV Spots


Kim Link, ScM
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