A hundred-year retrospective on cryptosporidiosis

Trends Parasitol. 2008 Apr;24(4):184-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2008.01.002. Epub 2008 Mar 7.


Tyzzer discovered the genus Cryptosporidium a century ago, and for almost 70 years cryptosporidiosis was regarded as an infrequent and insignificant infection that occurred in the intestines of vertebrates and caused little or no disease. Its association with gastrointestinal illness in humans and animals was recognized only in the early 1980s. Over the next 25 years, information was generated on the disease's epidemiology, biology, cultivation, taxonomy and development of molecular tools. Milestones include: (i) recognition in 1980 of cryptosporidiosis as an acute enteric disease; (ii) its emergence as a chronic opportunistic infection that complicates AIDS; (iii) acknowledgement of impact on the water industry once it was shown to be waterborne; and (iv) study of Cryptosporidium genomics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cryptosporidiosis* / drug therapy
  • Cryptosporidiosis* / epidemiology
  • Cryptosporidiosis* / immunology
  • Cryptosporidiosis* / parasitology
  • Cryptosporidium / genetics
  • Cryptosporidium / growth & development
  • Cryptosporidium / immunology
  • Cryptosporidium / pathogenicity*
  • Diarrhea / parasitology
  • Genome, Protozoan*
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Water / parasitology*


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Water