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Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite which can
infect a wide range of animals. There are many species of cryptosporidium, some
of which can cause illness in humans, called cryptosporidiosis, the symptoms of
which include stomach upsets, fever and diarrhoea.
resistant form, called an oocyst, can be found in the faeces of infected people
and animals. Contact with an infected person or animal or exposure to
contaminated food or recreational water, for example, at a swimming pool, are
all common routes of infection. It is very rare that cryptosporidium can be
caused by contamination of a drinking water source.
sources of public drinking water supply are risk assessed for their
vulnerability to contamination. If a source is found to be at risk from
cryptosporidium steps are taken to reduce the risk to the source water.
is resistant to the chlorine used as a disinfectant in drinking water, so additional
treatment measures are applied to either remove the oocysts or kill them before
the water is distributed.
water sources considered to be at risk are routinely monitored for
cryptosporidium and health authorities continuously monitor for cases of
cryptosporidiosis in the community.
symptoms described above are common to many illnesses. Anyone who is unwell
should contact their doctor.