What should you do when infected with Cryptosporidium?

Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite. In most healthy people, cryptosporidium infection usually causes watery stools. Symptoms should subside after one to two weeks. If the immune system is weakened, a cryptosporidium infection can be life-threatening if left untreated. Let's learn about this disease with SignsSymptomsList and learn how to prevent it.

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1. Cryptosporidium infection symptoms

The first symptoms usually appear 1 week after cryptosporidium infection and include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Dull pain in the epigastrium
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The symptoms mentioned above can last 2 weeks, even months even in healthy people. Some people with cryptosporidium may be infected without symptoms.

When should you go to the doctor?

You should see a doctor immediately if you have watery diarrhea that lasts for many days without improvement.

2. Causes of Cryptosporidium Infection

The route of transmission of cryptosporidium is mainly through the fecal-oral route. After entering the patient's body, they reside in the wall of the small intestine. They then produce cysts that are excreted in the feces and are contagious.

You can get cryptosporidium from contact with feces such as:

  • Drinking water contaminated with cryptosporidium parasites.
  • Go swimming in contaminated water and swallow dirty water.
  • Eating foods that are undercooked, contaminated, and contain cryptosporidium cysts
  • Touching your mouth after touching surfaces of objects or animals contaminated with the feces of an infected person

The risk of cryptosporidium is increased in people with immunocompromised patients such as HIV/AIDS. People with the disease often have symptoms that last longer than usual, easily get worse, and are more difficult to treat. See also:  Intestinal flagellates: Giardia Lamblia Nhiễm infection

What should you do when infected with Cryptosporidium?

Drinking or bathing with contaminated water can make the user sick with Cryptosporidium.

3. Cryptosporidium parasite

Cryptosporidium is one of the major causes of infectious diarrhea in humans. Parasites are difficult to eradicate because they are resistant to many drugs and cannot be filtered through filters. Cryptosporidium is usually killed by boiling. Cryptosporidium cysts often survive in the environment for many months at a variety of temperature conditions.

4. What are the risk factors for the disease ?

Some people who are at higher risk for cryptosporidium include:

  • Young children, especially those who still wear diapers, go to kindergarten.
  • Parents whose children are infected
  • Child carers
  • Animal care worker
  • People who engage in oral to anal sex. Refer to the article:  Diseases that can be sexually transmitted.
  • Tourists, especially sick people who have recently traveled to developing countries
  • Adventurers, climbers… are at risk of drinking water that has not been infected with parasites
  • People who go swimming in the pool inhaling the water from the pools and rivers are infected with Cryptosporidium
  • People who drink water from unsanitary sources

What should you do when infected with Cryptosporidium?

Young children attending kindergarten are susceptible to Cryptosporidium infection

5. Complications of Cryptosporidium Infection

Complications of cryptosporidium infection include:

  • Malnutrition due to reduced intestinal absorption
  • Severe dehydration
  • Significant weight loss
  • Hepatitis , cholangitis and enteritis
  • Cholangitis

Usually cryptosporidium infection is not life-threatening. But in organ transplant recipients or immunocompromised individuals, cryptosporidium infection can be dangerous.

6. Precautions

This is a contagious disease, so care must be taken to avoid spreading the disease. To date, there is no vaccine to prevent cryptosporidium infection.

To limit infection, we need:

  • Healthy lifestyle. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before and after eating. Disinfectants cannot kill cryptosporidium.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Avoid eating foods that pose a risk of poisoning. If traveling to developing countries, you should avoid eating undercooked food
  • Filter the water before drinking. You should filter the water before drinking if you have a weakened immune system or travel to the country, so you have a high risk of infection. Boil water for at least 1 minute or filter it before drinking. But boiling water helps kill cryptosporidium more effectively.
  • Avoid sexual activity that involves the oral fecal tract.

When you have diarrhea, you should avoid swimming. Especially if you already know you have cryptosporidium, you should not go swimming within 2 weeks after the symptoms disappear.

What should you do when infected with Cryptosporidium?

Always filter or boil water before drinking.

7. Diagnosis of disease

Some tests that help diagnose cryptosporidium infection include:

  • Acid staining of the specimen (feces or intestinal tissue biopsy).
  • Stool culture: does not detect cryptosporidium but helps rule out other causes.
  • Some other tests . Once your doctor has confirmed that you have cryptosporidium, your doctor may recommend additional tests to assess the severity of the disease. For example, your doctor may recommend a liver function test.

8. Methods of treatment

Most healthy people get better on their own without treatment.

For immunocompromised people, treatment is aimed at improving symptoms and enhancing the patient's immune system.

  • Antiparasitic drug. Certain medications, such as nitazoxanide (Alinia) can help relieve diarrhea caused by parasites. Azithromycin (Zithromax) can be one of the drugs that help boost the immune system.
  • Drugs that reduce intestinal motility. These drugs reduce intestinal motility and increase intestinal water reabsorption. This reduces diarrhea and reduces the amount of water lost in the stool. Some medications, such as loperamide, should be consulted with your doctor before using them.
  • Translation compensation. Prolonged diarrhea can dehydrate you significantly. Need to replace water and electrolytes orally or intravenously, to help stabilize the amount of fluid in the body.
  • ARV drugs. If the infected person is living with HIV/AIDS, antiretroviral drugs will help reduce the viral load in the body and boost the immune system.

What should you do when infected with Cryptosporidium?

For immunocompromised people, the doctor will prescribe some drugs to help reduce the severity of the disease.

In summary, Cryptosporidium infection is a disease that can occur in perfectly healthy and immunocompromised individuals. When you have acute diarrhea and have risk factors for cryptosporidium, you should see your doctor. Your doctor will recommend some tests and give you the right treatment. Hope the article will help you get more information about Cryptosporidium infection prevention.

Doctor Vu Thanh Do


What should you do when infected with Cryptosporidium?

What should you do when infected with Cryptosporidium?

If the immune system is weakened, a cryptosporidium infection can be life-threatening if left untreated. Let's find out with SignsSymptomsList and learn how to prevent diseases.

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