Submitted to: Journal of Chinese Parasitology
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: September 21, 1994
Publication Date: N/A
Cryptosporidiosis caused by the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum (Cp) has been reported worldwide in humans and animals. Like closely related parasites in the genera Eimeria, Isospora, Sarcocystis, and Toxoplasma, Cp passes through a series of asexual and sexual developmental stages in the gut and is transmitted in the oocyst stage via fecal contamination of the environment. Young humans and animals are most susceptible to infection which is marked by diarrhea accompanied by other manifestations of gastrointestinal infection. Diagnosis relies heavily on identification of the oocyst by various techniques. Disinfection, based on rendering oocysts noninfectious via chemicals has been unsatisfactory whereas freezing and heating have been successful. Of numerous drugs tested in humans and animals few have been found satisfactory for prevention or treatment. Among the best are some polyether ionophores, some macrolide antibiotics, and an aminoglycoside antibiotic. Passive immunotherapy via bovine colostrum has been used successfully in limited testing. Vaccine development is proceeding in laboratories in concert with elucidation of the cells and products involved in the protective immune response of the host.