Cryptosporidiosis – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Thursday, February 22, 2018 by

Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Cryptosporidium, which can be found in the soil, food, and water. Both the disease and the parasite are also known as crypto.

Human cases of crypto were initially thought to have a single disease causative agent. However, recent studies have shown that up to 15 different species are responsible for human infections — the most common of which include Cryptosporidium hominis, which only infects humans, and C. parvum, which infects both bovines and humans.

The parasite is found in the soil and in bodies of water, as well as food items that have already been tainted. It can then be transmitted to humans through ingestion of food or water (this also involves swimming), animal contact, and exposure to the feces of an infected person. Extensive cases of crypto outbreaks are waterborne — a result of contamination of municipal water and recreational waters. However, coming into contact with the blood of a person infected by crypto is not a factor for transmission.

The condition mainly affects children; crypto causes them bouts of prolonged and persistent diarrhea. It can also be found as a complication in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Known risk factors and symptoms of cryptosporidiosis

The cryptos parasite can easily infect humans, with Cryptosporidium oocysts (cysts that contain zygotes) being immediately infectious after it has been discharged from either its human or animal host. These are also very resilient, as oocysts can endure harsh conditions and are resistant to chlorine — which is used in water treatment.

Children who go to daycare centers, including their parents, have a high infection rate from cryptos. Also at a higher likelihood of getting it are people who frequently travel to developing nations, swim in recreational waters or those who handle infected animals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), crypto could spread through the following means.

  • Ingesting a material that has come into contact with the stool of a person or animal infected by crypto.
  • Swallowing recreational waters that are contaminated with crypto, either from sewage or feces.
  • Eating uncooked food that has been exposed to crypto.
  • Drinking water or beverages that have been contaminated with stool from infected humans or animals.
  • Touching the mouth with contaminated hands. Touching surfaces like bathroom fixtures, diapers, and handling an infected person or animal are some ways that the hands are exposed to crypto.

The most common symptom of crypto is watery diarrhea, which will begin two to 10 days after being infected. Other symptoms include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

A person with a healthy immune system will experience the symptoms for up to two weeks, but people with weakened immune systems — such as those with AIDS, cancer chemotherapy, or organ transplantation — have a greater risk of developing a severe form of crypto.

Body systems affected by cryptosporidiosis

Cryptos primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract. However, a severe case can lead to dehydration, renal failure, and reduced blood flow.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent or relieve cryptosporidiosis

A healthy diet, coupled with proper hygiene, is already half the battle for preventing cryptos and other intestinal parasites. Here are some recommended food items to aid in addressing cryptos and other parasites.

  • Pumpkin seeds — Curcubitine, the active ingredient in pumpkin seeds, paralyzes worms so that they can no longer cling to intestinal cells.
  • Papaya seeds — These also possess antiparasitic properties thanks to the presence of papain.
  • Berries — A number of berries have been shown to contain polyphenol-rich extracts that are effective in treating intestinal parasites. These include strawberry, Arctic bramble, blackberry, and cloudberry.
  • Probiotics — Food items such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut contain live bacteria or yeast that can kill certain intestinal parasites.

Treatment, management plans for cryptosporidiosis

Most people with healthy immune systems will recover without the need for treatment. However, medications such as nitazoxanide may be prescribed by a healthcare provider to treat diarrhea.

In crypto cases that involve children and pregnant women, preventing dehydration brought about by a rapid loss of fluid a key priority, as this may prove to be life-threatening if left untreated. For people with compromised immune systems, the treatment may be symptomatic depending on the advice of a healthcare professional.

Where to learn more

Summary

Cryptosporidiosis (or crypto) is a diarrheal disease caused by Cryptosporidium, a parasite which can be found in the soil, food, and water. The parasite is located on the ground and in bodies of water, as well as food items that have already been tainted. It can then be transmitted to humans through ingestion of food or water, animal contact, and exposure to the feces of an infected person. The most common symptom of crypto is watery diarrhea, which will begin two to 10 days after being infected.

Cryptos primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract. However, a severe case can lead to dehydration, renal failure, and reduced blood flow. A healthy diet, coupled with proper hygiene, is already half the battle for preventing cryptos and other intestinal parasites, and most people with healthy immune systems will recover without the need for treatment.

Sources include:

CDC.gov

eMedicine.Medscape.com

MedicinePlus.gov

MedicineNet.com

Patient.info

LiveStrong.com



Comments

comments powered by Disqus