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Cryptosporidiosis Essay

859 words - 4 pages

A microscopic parasite named Cryptosporidium is invading our swimming pools, wells, streams, lakes, rivers and more, and is responsible for causing one of our most common waterbourne illnesses, Cryptosporidiosis. Cryptosporidiosis, also referred to as Crypto, is an intestional disease that causes severe diarrhea illness in both animals and humans. And the parasitic culprite behind this disease,Cryptosporidium, has proven to be quite a challenge in destroying, as it can survive in many environments. This flask-shaped, speroidal parasite was first discovered in 1907 by a man named E.E. Tyzzer. Tyzzer was able to use light microscopy to observe these parasite that were living in the gastric glands taking from an infected mouse. He named the species observed, Cryptosporidium muris. Since his discovery, scientists have found several other species of Cryptosporidium, including C. parvum and C. hominus, which are known to infect humans.
Cryptosporidiosis has been found in 45 different species of animals, including humans. This zoonotic disease is very common in neonate farm animals, especially in 1-2 week old cattle, but it is also becoming quite common amongst the human population. The first human case reported was in 1976, when a three year old suffering from severe vomitting and watery diarhea was found to have the Cryptospidium parasites attached to the epithelial cells within her intestional tract. Since then, cases of Cryptosporidiosis have been reported in every region of the United States and all over the world. The most notable outbreak occured here in the US in 1993, when 409,000 individuals living in Milwaukee, Wisconson reported becoming infected after ingesting drinking water from a system with a filter that was inproperly working. Because this parasitic disease is spread by fecal to oral transmission, it is easy to see why outbreaks in both the animal and human population can and often do occur.
The Cryptosporidium is a hardy parasite that thrives in the intestines of humans and animals, that is capable of producing oocysts with hard outer shells that can survive for quite awhile in the outside environment. Animals and humans that are infected with Cryptosporidiosis will excret the Cryptosporidium oocysts that contain four sporozoites in their feces. This oocyst can now be easily transmitted to other humans and animals by fecal ingestation. Just a few oocyst have to be ingested in order for the host to become infected with Cryptosporidiosis. Once it is ingested, the thick walled oocyst will begin its life cycle by usually attaching to and burrowing into the epithelial cells of the small intestines. Very rarely, however, they have been known to attach to the digestive tract and respiratory tract. At this time,...

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