New Hampshire Department of and Human Services Fact Sheet Division of Public Health Services

Cryptosporidiosis prevent cryptosporidiosis and many other What is cryptosporidiosis? infectious : Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal caused by microscopic parasites, • Wash your hands frequently, especially , that can live in the intestine after changing diapers, after using the of humans and animals and is passed in the bathroom, and before eating or preparing stool of an infected person or animal. Both the any . disease and the parasite are commonly known • Do not swallow recreational water, such as “crypto.” The parasite is protected by an as water in swimming pools, Jacuzzis, hot outer shell that allows it to survive outside the tubs, fountains, lakes, rivers, ponds, or body for long periods of time and makes it streams. very resistant to chlorine-based disinfectants. • Do not share food, beverages, utensils, During the past 2 decades, crypto has become cups, or water bottles. recognized as one of the most common causes • Thoroughly wash with uncontaminated of waterborne disease (recreational water and water all vegetables and fruit you plan to ) in humans in the United eat raw. States. • Always wash hands after coming into contact with animals How is cryptosporidiosis spread? Cryptosporidium lives in the intestines of Where and how does crypto get into infected humans or animals. An infected drinking water? person or animal sheds crypto parasites in Crypto is found in every part of the United their stool. Shedding of crypto begins when States and throughout the world. Millions of the symptoms begin and can last for weeks cryptosporidia can be released in one bowel after symptoms (e.g., ) stop. You can movement from an infected human or animal. become infected after accidentally Crypto may be found in water sources such as swallowing the parasite. Cryptosporidium private wells that have been contaminated may be found in soil, food, water or surfaces with from infected humans or animals. that have been contaminated with the feces of Water can be contaminated through infected humans or animals. Crypto is not overflows, polluted storm water runoff, spread by contact with blood. agricultural runoff, etc.

How can the spread of What are the symptoms of cryptosporidiosis be prevented? cryptosporidiosis? As with preventing many illnesses, good The most common symptom of is crucial. Take the following steps to cryptosporidiosis is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include: • Stomach cramps or pain

29 Hazen Drive ‹ Concord, NH 03301 ‹ 603-271-4496 ‹ www.dhhs.nh.gov • How is crypto infection diagnosed? • Nausea Laboratory tests can help identify crypto as • Vomiting the cause of illness. These tests identify the • Fever parasite in the stools of an infected person. • Weight loss The tests are usually not performed unless the laboratory is instructed specifically to look for How long after infection do symptoms the organism. Because testing for crypto can appear? be difficult, you may be asked to submit Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis generally several stool samples over several days. begin 2 to 10 days (average 7 days) after becoming infected with the parasites. How is crypto treated? There is no effective treatment for crypto. How long will symptoms last? Most people with a healthy immune system In people with healthy immune systems, will recover on their own. If you have symptoms usually last about 1 to 2 weeks. diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids to prevent The symptoms may go in cycles in which you dehydration. Rapid loss of fluids from may seem to get better for a few days, then diarrhea can be life-threatening in babies. feel worse again before the illness ends. How do I remove crypto from drinking Who is most at risk for water? cryptosporidiosis? Bleach (chlorine) does not kill Crypto. Fully People who are most likely to become boiling your water for 1 minute (3 minutes if infected with Cryptosporidium include: you live at a high altitude) will kill or • Children who attend childcare centers, inactivate crypto. Water should then be stored including diaper-aged children in a clean container with a lid and refrigerated. An alternative to boiling water is • Childcare workers using a point-of-use filter. Not all home water • Parents of infected children filters remove crypto. Filters that are designed

• People who take care of other people with to remove crypto should have one of the cryptosporidiosis following labels: International travelers • • Reverse osmosis, • Backpackers, hikers, and campers who • Absolute pore size of 1 micron (μm) or drink unfiltered, untreated water smaller, • People who drink from untreated, shallow, • Tested and certified by NSF Standard 53 unprotected wells for cyst removal, or • People, including swimmers, who • Tested and certified by NSF Standard 53 swallow water from contaminated sources for cyst reduction. • People who handled infected animals, such as cattle For specific concerns about • People exposed to human feces through cryptosporidiosis illness, call the New sexual contact Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Infectious What should I do if I think I have Disease Control at 603-271-4496 or 800- crypto? 852-3345 x4496. For further information, Contact your healthcare provider to discuss refer to the Centers for Disease Control your concerns. and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov or the NH Department of Health and Human Services website at www.dhhs.nh.gov .

29 Hazen Drive ‹ Concord, NH 03301 ‹ 603-271-4496 ‹ www.dhhs.nh.gov