Cryptosporidiosis is an uncommon infection in foals caused by the parasitic Cryptosporidium parvum protozoan parasite. The source of the infection is egg cysts (oocysts) containing the parasite. The oocysts are excreted in the feces of infected horses or other infected species (such rodents or farm cats. Simultaneous infection (especially with rotavirus or coronavirus), are common and diarrhea is more severe in these mixed infections. Cryptosporidiosis usually is not fatal, unless complicated by other infections. Signs include mild to moderate diarrhea for several days ragardless of treatment. Feces are yellow or pale and contain mucus. Some people with crypto will have no symptoms at all. Cryptosporidium can be very contagious. Infected individuals should follow the guidelines to avoid spreading the disease to others.

Cryptosporidium lives in the intestine of infected humans or animals. Millions of crypto parasites can be released in a bowel movement from an infected human or animal. Consequently, Cryptosporidium is found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with infected human or animal feces. A person becomes infected by swallowing Cryptosporidium parasites. You cannot become infected through contact with blood. Crypto can be spread:

  • By Recreational water is water in swimming pools, hot tubs, Jacuzzis, fountains, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, or streams that can be contaminated with sewage or feces from humans or animals.
  • By eating uncooked food contaminated with Crypto.
  • By touching your mouth with contaminated hands.


  1. CDC, Division of Parasitic Diseases, Cryptosporidium Infection Cryptosporidiosis

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