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  • Cryptosporidium 

    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.

    A 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.

    All 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.

    Cryptosporidium 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.

    Drinking water sources considered to be at risk are routinely monitored for cryptosporidium and health authorities continuously monitor for cases of cryptosporidiosis in the community.

    The symptoms described above are common to many illnesses. Anyone who is unwell should contact their doctor.


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