Summary of Cryptosporidium
Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic disease caused by Cryptosporidium, a genus of protozoan parasites. It affects the distal small intestine in both immunocompetent individuals (in whom it causes mild watery diarrhea) and immunocompromised (e.g., persons with AIDS) individuals (in whom it causes severe, potentially fatal diarrhea). It is primarily spread through the consumption of oocysts in contaminated water, and identification is via acid-fast staining. Prevention is accomplished by filtration of city water supplies, and treatment in immunocompetent patients is with nitazoxanide.