Last Updated on January 8, 2024
What is Cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium (commonly called Crypto) is a parasite that causes the diarrheal disease known as cryptosporidiosis. While there are many species of Cryptosporidium that infect animals, Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium hominis are the most common sources of infection in humans. The parasite has an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection. Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the United States.
Preventing the Spread of Cryptosporidium
While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, drinking water and recreational water are the most common sources of infection. Cryptosporidium can spread by the following means :
- Swallowing contaminated recreational water (in swimming pools, fountains, lakes, and rivers)
- Drinking contaminated water from a lake or river
- Swallowing water, ice, or beverages contaminated with poop from infected humans or animals
- Eating undercooked food or drinking unpasteurized/raw apple cider or milk
- Touching your mouth with hands contaminated through:
- Surfaces or objects (e.g., toys, bathroom fixtures, changing tables, diaper pails) containing poop from an infected person
- Changing diapers
- Caring for an infected person
- Touching an infected animal
- Exposure to poop from an infected person through oral-anal sexual contact
Get Additional Protection with Germicidal UV Disinfection
In addition to the above preventative measures, Germicidal Ultraviolet (UV-C) surface disinfection (in the dosage listed below) can inactivate Cryptosporidium in many applications. Our products use STER-L-RAY® Germicidal UV-C Lamps producing ultraviolet wavelengths at 254 nanometers, the region of germicidal effectiveness most destructive to harmful microorganisms.
Germicidal Ultraviolet (UV-C) Water Purification can inactivate Cryptosporidium in drinking water or water used for food preparation. View our application page on Well Water Contamination for more information on how UV purification can help protect your well water against Cryptosporidium and many other harmful microorganisms. Germicidal UV Disinfection can be used to protect pools and other recreational water sources from various pathogens . Restaurants, retailers, and meat processing facilities will benefit by adding UV-C surface disinfection to their regular sanitizing procedures. View our application-specific page on UV-C in Meat Processing. Another benefit of installing UV water purifiers is the ability to operate as usual during a boil water alert.
Cryptosporidium: Classification & UV-C Dose for Inactivation
Where is it found?
What can it infect?
How Does it Spread?
People at High Risk for Contracting an Infection
While anyone can contract a Cryptosporidium infection, certain people are at high risk:
- Children who attend childcare centers, including diaper-aged children
- Childcare workers
- Parents of infected children
- People 75 years and older
- People who take care of other people infected with Crypto
- International travelers
- Backpackers, hikers, and campers who drink unfiltered, untreated water
- People who drink from untreated, shallow wells
- People, including swimmers, who swallow water from contaminated sources
- People who handle farm animals (especially goat and sheep)
- People exposed to human poop through sexual contact
Symptoms generally begin 2 to 10 days after becoming infected with Cryptosporidium. Symptoms include:
- Watery diarrhea
- Stomach cramps or pain
- Weight loss
Symptoms usually last 1 to 2 weeks in people with healthy immune systems but can last for a month or more. Shedding of Crypto in poop begins when symptoms begin and can last for weeks after symptoms stop.
Sources on Cryptosporidium
The above information can be found on the following pages. Please read complete articles to learn more.
* Nominal Ultraviolet dosage necessary to inactivate better than 99% of microorganisms.
- Sensitivity of Bacteria, Protozoa, Viruses, and Other Microorganisms to Ultraviolet Radiation. Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Volume 126, Article No. 126021. August 20, 2021.
Learn More & Shop Our Products to Inactivate Cryptosporidium
Made in the USA from U.S. and imported parts, Water Purification and Air & Surface Disinfection product lines from Atlantic Ultraviolet Corporation® are constructed of the highest quality materials and use germicidal UV-C lamps to disinfect water and surfaces, inactivating microorganisms like Cryptosporidium.
Learn Here! Ultraviolet.com
- Blog Posts: UV Water Disinfection
- Blog Posts: Other Microorganisms Inactivated by UV-C
- UV-C Dosage Data for Many Microorganisms
- View Well Water Application Page
- View Meat Processing Application Page
- View Boil Water Alert Application Page
- All Applications for UV Disinfection
Shop Here! AtlanticUltraviolet.com
- Shop UV Water Disinfection
- Compare All Water Disinfection Models
- Shop STER-L-RAY® Germicidal UV Lamps
Contact Our UV Application Specialists
- Call (631) 273-0500, Monday – Friday 7am to 6pm EST
- Email Sales@AtlanticUV.com
- Fill out our contact form