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Cryptosporidiosis, also known as "Crypto," is a parasitic disease caused by Cryptosporidium, a microscopic protozoan parasite. A diarrheal diseases, Cryptosporidiosis affects the intestines with an acute short-term infection and is found throughout the world. Crypto is typically spread through through contaminated water (the fecal-oral route). You can also acquire the parasite by eating raw foods contaminated with Cryptosporidium. The parasite is transmitted by environmentally hardy microbial cysts (oocysts) that, once ingested, exist in the small intestine and result in an infection of intestinal epithelial tissue. The main symptom in people with intact immune systems is self-limiting diarrhea. In immunocompromised individuals, such as AIDS patients, the symptoms are particularly severe and often fatal.

Most people with healthy immune systems will recover from Cryptosporidiosis without treatment. Dehydration is the main risk factor, especially for babies and young children. Cryptosporidiosis research at CERID is focused on drug discovery/development.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention