|Source of Cryptosporidium in Water: Cryptosporidium (also known as crypto) is a protozoan parasite which exists as a round oocyst about 4 to 6 microns in diameter. Cryptosporidium is virtually everywhere, but is particularly found in the intestines and feces of infected humans and animals. Ground water and surface water can be contaminated with crypto through leaking sewage systems, storm runoff, and agricultural runoff. Well water can become contaminated if the well has been submerged in flood water or there has had an intrusion of sewage water. Hikers and backpackers who drink unfiltered spring water are likely to be exposed to this parasite. It can also be found in recreational water, including pools. Cryptosporidium is resistant to chlorination, which does not offer protection against the parasite. |
Symptoms of Cryptosporiduim: Cryptosporidium in water passes through the stomach into the small intestine where its sporozoites invade the cell lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of infection include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and low grade fever. Symptoms can take 1 to 2 weeks to dissipate and may come and go for up to 30 days.
Filtration Solutions for Cryptosporidium: Well water should be tested regularly for the presence of crypto in drinking water. Reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration systems used to filter out cryptosporidium should be rated at 1 micron or smaller. UV systems are also a great option for reducing the presence of this contaminant as the UV light will "zap" the parasite, preventing it from producing the symptom-causing sporozoites.