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Parasite Immunol. 2016 Sep;38(9):535-47. doi: 10.1111/pim.12350.

Cryptosporidium in humans and animals-a one health approach to prophylaxis.

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School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, Australia.
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, WA, Australia.


Cryptosporidium is a major cause of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea in humans worldwide, second only to rotavirus. Due to the wide host range and environmental persistence of this parasite, cryptosporidiosis can be zoonotic and associated with foodborne and waterborne outbreaks. Currently, 31 species are recognized as valid, and of these, Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum are responsible for the majority of infections in humans. The immune status of the host, both innate and adaptive immunity, has a major impact on the severity of the disease and its prognosis. Immunocompetent individuals typically experience self-limiting diarrhoea and transient gastroenteritis lasting up to 2 weeks and recover without treatment, suggesting an efficient host antiparasite immune response. Immunocompromised individuals can suffer from intractable diarrhoea, which can be fatal. Effective drug treatments and vaccines are not yet available. As a result of this, the close cooperation and interaction between veterinarians, health physicians, environmental managers and public health operators is essential to properly control this disease. This review focuses on a One Health approach to prophylaxis, including the importance of understanding transmission routes for zoonotic Cryptosporidium species, improved sanitation and better risk management, improved detection, diagnosis and treatment and the prospect of an effective anticryptosporidial vaccine.


Cryptosporidium; diagnosis; prophylaxis; risk management; treatment; vaccines

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