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Life Cycle
  • Cryptosporidium oocytes are ingested and release trophozoites within the alimentary tract. Trophozoites reproduce asexually and sexually within enterocytes of the GI epithelium and eventually release oocytes which are shed in the feces. Transmission of cryptosporidium occurs through the fecal-oral route likely by ingestion of contaminated foods and water.
Clinical Consequences
  • GI infection with cryptosporidium in most healthy individuals results in a mild, self-limited watery infectious diarrhea sometimes accompanied by abdominal pain. Immunocompromised patients such as AIDS Patients may develop a severe and profuse diarrhea that can become life-threatening.