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for Veterans and the Public


This parasite is found in the feces of many animals, including humans. It can contaminate drinking water.

To avoid infection from people, avoid contact with feces (diapers, sex involving direct oral-anal contact). Try to avoid accidentally swallowing water when swimming in pools, rivers, or lakes. Do not drink from streams. Drink bottled water or use filters on tap water (look for "submicron" filters, which will filter out this parasite). Avoid eating raw oysters as they can carry eggs of cryptosporidia.

Symptoms of this infection include:

  • persistent watery diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • cramping
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss

The main treatment for cryptosporidiosis is effective HIV treatment. In conjunction with HIV treatment, antimicrobials can hasten clearance and improve resolution of diarrhea. No antimicrobial has been shown to be effective in the absence of HIV treatment.