Frontiers in Parasitology

Frontiers in Parasitology

Volume: 2

Water-borne Protozoa in Humans

Indexed in: EBSCO

Several parasites are able to spread diseases through contaminated water. While the spread of diseases through contaminated water appears to have a greater correlation with a lack of access to clean ...
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Cryptosporidium and Cryptosporidiosis

Pp. 25-67 (43)

Simone M. Cacciò and Fabio Tosini


Cryptosporidium spp. has emerged as an important cause of diarrheal disease in humans and animals, with a global distribution. The epidemiology of cryptosporidiosis is complex, and transmission occurs through both direct (human-tohuman, animal-to-human) and indirect (through water and food) routes. In humans, the majority of infections are caused by C. hominis and C. parvum, but a number of other species have been recognized as human pathogens. The burden of disease is particularly high among young children in developing regions of the world, where cryptosporidiosis is one of the major causes of moderate-to-severe diarrhea and is associated with an increased risk of death. In developed countries, contamination of drinking water has caused several large waterborne outbreaks. Effective drug treatments and vaccines are not yet available, but the partial immunity after exposure suggests the potential for developing vaccines. Routine diagnostic methods for Cryptosporidium often have a low sensitivity, and those based on antigen or DNA detection, that greatly improve sensitivity, are underused. Recent advances in nextgeneration sequencing techniques will significantly improve our knowledge of the transmission of Cryptosporidium. However, increased funding will be essential to combat this important pathogen.


Cryptosporidiosis, Cryptosporidium, Diagnostic methods, Epidemiology, Genomics, Genotyping, Human infection, Immunology, Intestinal disease, Molecular epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Risk factors, Transmission routes, Treatment.


Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immunomediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.