Significance of Cryptosporidium


Cryptosporidium causes a diarrheal disease spread from one person to another or, at aquatic venues, by ingestion of fecally-contaminated water. This pathogen is tolerant of CHLORINE and other halogen disinfectants. Cryptosporidium has emerged as the leading cause of pool-associated outbreaks in the United States.


One such pathogen is Cryptosporidium14 (fecal-orally spread from person to person or from contaminated objects/media like pool water), which can survive for days in chlorinated AQUATIC FACILITIES because it is extremely CHLORINE resistant.15,16,17 Cryptosporidium causes a profuse watery diarrhea that contains large numbers of infectious OOCYSTS so, if the water or surfaces at AQUATIC FACILITIES get contaminated, an outbreak can occur. Cryptosporidium and other waterborne pathogens have a low infectious dose and can still be excreted from the body weeks after diarrhea ends. These factors increase the potential for a waterborne disease outbreak. Waterborne diseases and outbreaks can include the following: * Gastrointestinal illness resulting from exposure to pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Cryptosporidium, * Infections of the brain, skin, ear, eye, and lungs, * Wounds, and * Exposure to pool-related chemicals. There were 21 treated recreational water-associated outbreaks reported in 2009-2010 that were caused by Cryptosporidium, a substantial increase from the eight reported for treated AQUATIC FACILITIES in 1997-1998.18,19 In addition, during 1999-2008 Cryptosporidium was identified as the cause of 74.4% of gastroenteritis outbreaks at disinfected AQUATIC FACILITIES, making it the leading cause of diarrheal disease outbreaks at disinfected AQUATIC FACILITIES.20

Back to The MAHC