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Cryptosporidium and cryptosporidiosis 

Cryptosporidium and cryptosporidiosis
Cryptosporidium and cryptosporidiosis

Simone M. Cacciò

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date: 25 February 2021

Parasites within the genus Cryptosporidium infect the mucosal epithelia of a variety of vertebrate hosts, including humans, affecting the health, survival, and economic development of millions of people and animals worldwide. Human infection is mainly caused by two species, Cryptosporidium parvum and C. hominis. The former species is also prevalent in young livestock and has a demonstrated zoonotic potential, whereas the latter species is essentially a human parasite. Direct and indirect (through contaminated water and food) transmission routes exist for both species. Treatment of immunocompetent patients, when necessary, is based on nitazoxanide, a thiazolide drug with broad antiparasitic activities. Nitazoxanide is the only US Food and Drug Administration-approved drug for the treatment of cryptosporidiosis, but it is not licensed in Europe.

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