Cryptosporidium is the protozoan that causes cryptosporidiosis. This is a gastro-intestinal illness that people can have. People who have cryptosporidium suffer from diarrhea. The protozoan is usually encountered at patients that are HIV positive. The scientific classification of cryptosporidium includes the family – Cryptosporidiidae, the suborder Eimeriorina, the order Eucoccidiorida, the subclass Coccidiasina, the class Conoidasida, the phylum Apicomplexa and the kingdom Protista. Other pathogens of cryptosporidium include a parasite causing malaria, called Plasmodium and Toxoplasma, the one that causes toxoplasmosis. Cryptosporidium does not need a vector and can have a life cycle in a single host. It has cyst stages and after they are excreted through human feces they can be transmitted to another host. There are several species of cryptosporidium that can make people sick – Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium hominis.
The life cycle of cryptosporidium has spore phases and thanks to this, it can survive outside the human body for some time, resisting even to powerful disinfectants, like those based on chlorine. The are several groups that have a high risk of contracting cryptosporidium. Among them, those who swim regularly in pools that are not efficiently cleaned, because, as it was mentioned before, this protozoan is resistant to chlorine. Those that work in child care and those who have infected children are also in the danger of contracting cryptosporidium. Those who drink unfiltered water and those who take care of people who suffer of cryptosporidiosis are also in the danger of contracting the protozoan and getting ill.
Those who swallow water when swimming can also develop the disease, as well as those who are raising contaminated cattle. Some types of sexual behavior also rises the risk of contracting cryptosporidium, if the partners are exposed to feces. In a city where all the sources of water are clean, contamination may still appear from different other origins. In order to discover the cause of a possible epidemiology, testes must be made. The good thing is that cryptosporidium does not cause serious problems to healthy people. Children may get chronically ill and also those that are immunocompromised because of other infections, too.