Cryptosporidium spp.

Last edited 03/2018

Cryptosporidium is an intracellular organism that infects the enterocytes of the small intestine.

An outer shell of the parasite allows it to survive outside of the body and makes it very resistant to severe environmental conditions (heat, cold or chemical disinfectants) for prolonged periods of time.

  • the parasite may survive for months in moist soil or water
  • due to its resistance to most common water disinfection procedures, including chlorination, water distribution systems and swimming pools are particularly vulnerable to  Cryptosporidium contamination
    • parasite can be removed by well operated filtration, or killed by UV treatment (1)

In the U.K., Crytosporidial spp. are nearly as common as salmonella and three times as common as shigella in causing acute infectious diarrhoea