The epidemiology and disease surveillance unit monitors the incidence of confirmed and probable cryptosporidiosis cases reported and issues periodic updates of the status of the investigations.

Cryptosporidiosis is a contagious diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites, Cryptosporidium. Both the disease and the parasite are commonly known as "Crypto.". Crypto can live in the intestine of humans and animals and is passed in the stool of an infected person or animal. During the past two decades, Crypto has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease in humans in the United States.

Cryptosporidiosis has occurred at low levels since January 2010. Historically, increases in cases of cryptosporidium occur in summer months. As of January 14, 2011, eight confirmed cases have been reported since the beginning of 2010. The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department continues to monitor all reports.

Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis generally begin 2 to 10 days after becoming infected. The most common symptom is non-bloody, profuse and watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, general malaise and fever. Some people with Crypto will have no symptoms at all. If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention.

In persons with healthy immune systems, symptoms usually last about 1 to 2 weeks. The parasite appears in the stool at the onset of symptoms and is immediately infectious upon excretion and may continue for two weeks after the cessation of symptoms.

Infected people may have Cryptosporidium on their skin; as a result, immersion in the water may wash the parasites off the body. Many outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis have occurred among recreational water users, including chlorinated swimming pools, jacuzzis, water parks, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, ponds and springs.

  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand gels and sanitizers do not kill Cryptosporidium.
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects. See Control Measures for Outbreaks.
  • While you have diarrhea, do not swim in recreational water and refrain for at least 2 weeks after your diarrhea stops.
  • Do not swallow recreational water.
  • Avoid food that might be contaminated.