Revisiting the global problem of cryptosporidiosis and recommendations

Trop Parasitol. Jan-Jun 2017;7(1):8-17. doi: 10.4103/2229-5070.202290.

Abstract

Cryptosporidiosis is a gastrointestinal illness caused by the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium species, which is a leading cause of diarrhea in a variety of vertebrate hosts. The primary mode of transmission is through oral routes; infections spread with the ingestion of oocysts by susceptible animals or humans. In humans, Cryptosporidium infections are commonly found in children and immunocompromised individuals. The small intestine is the most common primary site of infection in humans while extraintestinal cryptosporidiosis occurs in immunocompromised individuals affecting the biliary tract, lungs, or pancreas. Both innate and adaptive immune responses play a critical role in parasite clearance as evident from studies with experimental infection in mice. However, the cellular immune responses induced during human infections are poorly understood. In this article, we review the currently available information with regard to epidemiology, diagnosis, therapeutic interventions, and strategies being used to control cryptosporidiosis infection. Since cryptosporidiosis may spread through zoonotic mode, we emphasis on more epidemiological surveillance-based studies in developing countries with poor sanitation and hygiene. These epidemiological surveys must incorporate fecal source tracking measures to identify animal and human populations contributing significantly to the fecal burden in the community, as mitigation measures differ by host type.

Keywords: Cryptosporidiosis; Cryptosporidium; diarrhea; microbial source tracking; zoonotic diseases.