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Cryptosporidiosis – Diagnosis and Treatment

Cryptosporidiosis

in humans is primarily caused by protozoan parasites, Cryptosporidium. The illness in humans was earlier predicted to be caused by only one protozoan species, but according to recent molecular studies, it has been discovered that many species can cause infection in humans. The species for which humans act as the only host for growth and reproduction is Cryptosporidium hominis. Also, Cryptosporidium parvum causes infection in humans as well as bovines. Read on to know more about the

diagnosis and treatment of Cryptosporidium

.

The infection of cryptosporidiosis mainly occurs in children. In healthy individuals, the infection results in self-limited diarrhea. Also, the infection in children causes persistent diarrhea. In immunocompromised patients like HIV patients, the infection causes severe diarrhea. Several outbreaks due to waterborne transmission have been recorded.

Diagnosis of Cryptosporidiosis

Several diagnostic tests are available for Cryptosporidium. These diagnostic tests include antigens detection, staining and microscopy.

  • Microscopy –

    This aids in identifying oocysts in the fecal sample. Nearly three stool sample are required to find the count of oocysts.

  • Staining Methods –

    Acid-fast method is an important staining technique, which stains the oocysts red. Another method is Giemsa staining.

  • Detecting Antibodies –

    Another way to diagnose the disease is by detecting the antigens. Direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) method is done to detect the foreign particles. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) also helps in detection of antigens.

Treatment of Cryptosporidiosis

Healthy individuals with a good immune system almost recover without any treatment. To prevent dehydration, drinking plenty of water and fluids can effectively manage diarrhea. Immunocompromised patients like HIV patients or people with poor health are more susceptible to this infection. Hence, it is important and necessary to drink plenty of water to replace the lost fluid.

To slow down diarrhea, anti-diarrheal medicines can be taken. One such medicine is Nita, which is approved by FDA and is prescribed for treating diarrhea caused by Cryptosporidium in people with a good immune system.

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