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Cryptosporidium

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Summary

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Key Points

  • Cryptosporidium spp.
    • Characteristics
      • Intracellular protozoan parasite
    • Transmission
      • Fecal-oral
        • Ingestion of oocysts in contaminated water
          • Often associated with contaminated water supply, swimming pool, etc.
        • Food-borne, person-to-person, respiratory transmission are less common
      • Affects immunocompromised patients
        • Commonly patients with AIDS (CD4+ count <200)
    • Presentation: Cryptosporidiosis
      • Watery diarrhea
        • Note: lack of blood differentiates vs. other forms of parasitic diarrhea, e.g. entamoeba
        • Severe diarrhea is seen with immunocompromise, while immunocompetent patients have mild symptoms
    • Diagnosis
      • Stool microscopy (O&P)
        • Oocysts may be seen with acid-fast stains
      • PCR testing may also be used
    • Treatment
      • Nitazoxanide