Please click the frequently asked questions below for further information and IPC precautions required:
What is Cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium are protozoan parasites, with the species C. parvum and C. hominis causing the majority of cryptosporidium infections in humans. They can cause Cryptosporidiosis. The parasite is transmitted via microbial cysts (oocysts) that once ingested are released and result in infection.
Vulnerable groups include children, childcare workers, occupations with exposure to animals (e.g. farmers, vets) and those likely to be in contact with untreated water (e.g. fresh water swimmers, travellers). People who are immunocompromised are at greater risk of severe disease and infections can be fatal in this group.
Why is this information important?
If NIAS staff are aware that the patient has a suspected or confirmed case this should be communicated to the Control Room (Emergency or Non-emergency as appropriate) and the staff in the receiving unit when transferring the patient to ensure effective patient care and management.
How is it spread?
The most common route of infection is from contaminated material such as ingested unfiltered/untreated water or food, or contact with faeces from an infected person or animal.
Incubation Period : 7 to 10 days, but can be as long as 28 days
What are the symptoms of Cryptosporidium?
Infections usually affect the gastrointestinal (GI) system. Symptoms of GI infections include:
- abdominal pain
Respiratory infections are less common, but can cause fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Contact Precautions should be used.
- Hand Hygiene should be completed as per the 5 moments in line with usual practice with Soap and Water
- Eye protection should be risk assessed and worn if any risk of splashes.
- Gloves and Aprons should be worn.
- The patient should be transported via ambulance with no other patients present.
- Laundry should be treated as contaminated, placed into an alginate bag and placed into a red laundry bag.
What cleaning is required?
All equipment and the ambulance should have an in-between patient clean paying particular attention to touch points.
Do staff need any prophylaxis or follow up?
If staff have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of Cryptosporidium they should remain vigilant for any symptoms but there is no active follow up required.
If staff become symptomatic they should remain off work until 48 hours asymptomatic (72 hours if food handling).