A cross-sectional case-control study (ratio = 3:1) was conducted over a 15-month period to determine the prevalence and consequences of cryptosporidiosis in hospitalized diarrheic children (0-5 years old) at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. Cryptosporidium parvum was detected and genotyped among 2,446 children of whom 1,779 (72.7%) had diarrhea, and 667 (27.3%) were age- and sex-matched controls. Of the 1,779 children with diarrhea, 532 (29.9%) had persistent (> 14 days) diarrhea and 1,247 (70.1%) had acute diarrhea. Overall, 444 (25.0%) of the 1,779 children with diarrhea had C. parvum, compared with only 57 (8.5%) of the 667 children without diarrhea (chi2 = 80.2, P < or = 0.0001). Within this group of infected children, 72.8% were infected with genotype 1, 18.4% with genotype 2, and 4.1% with a mixture of both genotypes, and 4.1% isolates were either unclassified or C. meleagridis. The prevalence was highest during the rainy months of April to June. Of the 532 children with persistent diarrhea, 166 (31.2%) had C. parvum compared with 278 (22.3%) of the 1,247 children with acute diarrhea (chi2 = 15.8, P < or = 0.0001). There was a significant association between C. parvum and malnutrition including stunting, being underweight, and wasting. Unfavorable outcome (death or failure to resolve within 14 days) occurred in 139 (72.8%) of the 191 children with C. parvum, and in only 65.1% of the 545 without (odds ratio = 1.117, 95% confidence interval = 1.005-1.243, P = 0.05), Of the 191 children with C. parvum, 24 (12.6%) died, compared with 34 (6.2%) of the 545 without C. parvum (P = 0.005). Mortality rates were higher among children with severe dehydration and persistent diarrhea, and in stunted or underweight children infected with C. parvum. Among Ugandan children, cryptosporidiosis, which remains untreatable, is frequently associated with diarrhea and other serious and unfavorable consequences.