Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites, Cryptosporidium, that can live in the intestine of humans and animals and is passed in the stool of an infected person or animal. Both the disease and the parasite are commonly known as "Crypto." The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very resistant to chlorine-based disinfectants.
There is no reliable treatment for cryptosporidium enteritis; certain agents such as paromomycin, atovaquone, nitazoxanide, and azithromycin are sometimes used, but they usually have only temporary effects. Treatment is primarily supportive. Fluids need to be replaced orally. A lactose-free diet should be taken as tolerated. In rare situations, intravenous fluids may be required. Antibiotics are not usually helpful, and are reserved primarily for persons with severe disease and a weak immune system. Sometimes relapses happen.
Major research on disease
A recombinant Cryptosporidium parvum oocyst surface protein (rCP15/60) vaccine has produced an antibody response in a large group of cows and also antibody response in calves fed rCP15/60-immune colostrum produced by these vaccinated cows . This is very promising. Human Cryptosporidium parvum infections are particularly prevalent and often fatal in neonates in developing countries and to immunocompromised people, such as AIDs patients. There is no commercially available effective vaccine against Cryptosporidium parvum, although passive immunization utilizing different zoite surface (glyco)proteins has showed promise. Developmental stages within the life cycle of the parasite that might act as possible targets for vaccine development. The organism is detected in 65-97% of the surface-water supply in the United States and is resistant to most disinfectants used for treatment of drinking water. Antibodies in the serum of humans and animals infected with Cryptosporidium parvum react with several antigens, one of which is a 15 kDa protein (CP15) located on the surface of the organism. This protein is a good candidate for use as a molecular vaccine because previous studies have shown that a monoclonal antibody to CP15 confers passive immunityto mice. Currently, there is no drug therapy or vaccine that is effective against Cryptosporidium parvum.
The natural history of Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium infections were determined in a cohort of 164 Bedouin children, from a population not previously studied, which is in transition from nomadism to a settled life style. Stools were sampled monthly from birth to two years of age and at all diarrhea episodes. The risk of infection with G. lamblia and Cryptosporidium infection by age two was 91.5% and 48.8%, respectively. Cryptosporidium prevalence was 3-4% at all ages, whereas G. lamblia prevalence was > 30% after age one. Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium asymptomatic detection rates were high, 28.5% and 1.6%, respectively. Detection of G. lamblia was higher in diarrhea episode samples obtained before six months of age, but after that age and overall, the detection was lower than in nondiarrhea samples (odds ratio [OR] = 0.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.7-0.9, P < 0.05). Detection rates of C. parvum were higher in episode-related samples in all age groups (OR = 2.8, 95% CI = 1.9-4.2, P < 0.05) and infections in boys were more frequently symptomatic than in girls. While G. lamblia does not appear to be a consistent pathogen in this population where it is hyperendemic, Cryptosporidium has been shown to be an important cause of diarrhea in young children in the community.