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Dr Bryan Betty: Cryptosporidium stomach infections

Author
Dr Bryan Betty,
Publish Date
Sat, 13 Apr 2024, 1:18pm
Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

Dr Bryan Betty: Cryptosporidium stomach infections

Author
Dr Bryan Betty,
Publish Date
Sat, 13 Apr 2024, 1:18pm

What is cryptosporidium and what does it do? 

- It’s a parasite found in the gut of infected people. Also, animals such as cats, dogs, cattle, and sheep. 

- Basically, it’s a nasty ‘stomach bug’, if you get infected it causes a nasty stomach infection. 

- Gives you painful stomach cramps, really smelly diarrhoea, and nausea. 

 

How do you get it and can we treat it? 

Infected people or animals pass it on through infected poo, we basically swallow the parasite: 

- Contact with infected people or animals 

- Drinking water becomes infected 

- Food after food preparation with hands that are contaminated. 

- Swimming in shared water such as swimming pools, paddling pools, or infected beaches, rivers. 

Generally, we don’t treat it, antibiotics generally don’t help. We advise things such as Panadol and medication to stop stomach cramps. It’s really important to keep fluid levels up so you don’t become dehydrated, especially children. 

 

What do we do to prevent it? 

- It’s really important not to spread it or catch it! 

- The basics: don’t spread it, wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and hot water then dry: 

-After going to toilet 
-Before you prepare food.
-Have contact with animals, after gardening, caring with someone with diarrhoea, or changing babies' nappies 

 

Other thing to note:

- The parasite hangs around in your body for 14 days after your symptoms clear up. 

- Don’t  swim in swimming pools for 14 days after an infection – you can spread it for up to two weeks!! 

-Also, when signs go up at beach or river not to swim, don’t. Means there’s a sewage leak and you can contract cryptosporidium. 

-Certainly, if you are concerned contact your general practice or medical centre. 

 

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