Cryptosporidiosis (crypto) is an illness caused by a parasite. The parasite lives in soil, food, and water. It may also be on surfaces that have been contaminated with feces (poop). You can become infected by swallowing the parasite, if it is in your food, drinking water, or water that you swim in. You can also get it by touching your mouth with contaminated hands.
The most common symptom of crypto is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include
- Weight loss
- Stomach cramps or pain
Contact your health care provider if you have watery diarrhea that lasts more than a few days. Most people with crypto get better without treatment within one to two weeks. But crypto can cause serious problems in people with weak immune systems, like those with HIV/AIDS.
To reduce your risk of crypto, wash your hands often, only drink water that you know is safe, and wash or peel fresh fruits and vegetables before eating.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention