Prevention and Treatment

Effective measures for preventing cryptosporidiosis are limited to careful monitoring ofmunicipal water supplies, pasteurization of liquids for human consumption, and sanitary disposal of human and animal feces. Food handlers with diarrhea should not handle food until symptom-free, and all food handlers should adhere to handwashing and other sanitary measures. Immunodeficient individuals are advised to avoid contact with animals, to boil or filter drinking water using a one micrometer or smaller pore size filter, and to avoid recreational water activities. No satisfactory treatment exists for cryptosporidiosis, although a combination of two antibiotics, paromomycin and azithromycin, has helped control the disease in some AIDS patients.

The main features of cryptosporidiosis are shown in table 24.14.


Cyclosporiasis first came to medical attention in the late 1980s, with widely scattered epidemics of severe diarrhea. For several years, the causative organism was known only as a "cyanobacterium-like body." Later, the bodies were shown to be the oocysts of a coc-cidian protozoan which was named Cyclospora cayetanensis. ■ cyanobacteria, p. 278

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