Pathogen Cryptosporidium parvum
Cryptosporidium, a protozoan parasite in the phylum Apicomplexa which causes the pathogenic disease called Cryptosporidiosis, known to be the third worst diarrheal disease in humans worldwide. Cryptosporidiosis is a nationally notifiable gastrointestinal illness, caused by extremely chlorine-tolerant protozoa caused by this genus. The parasite is transmitted by environmentally hardy microbial cysts (oocysts), once you ingest them, exist in the small intestine and result in an infection of intestinal epithelial tissue. It affects the intestines and is typically an acute short-term infection. It is spreads through the fecal-oral route, often through contaminated water; the main symptom is self-limiting diarrhea in people with intact immune systems. However, immunocompromised individuals, such as AIDS patients, the symptoms are particularly severe and often fatal.
Infection is through contaminated material such as earth, water, uncooked or cross-contaminated food that has been in contact with the feces of an infected individual or animal. Contact must then be transferred to the mouth and swallowed. A recent outbreak in Nebraska was due to contamination of chicken salad. It is especially prevalent amongst those in regular contact with bodies of fresh water including recreational water such as swimming pools. Other potential sources include insufficiently treated water supplies, contaminated food, or exposure to feces. The high resistance of Cryptosporidium oocysts to disinfectants such as chlorine bleach enables them to survive for long periods and still remain infective. Some...