Since the Milwaukee outbreak, concern over the safety of drinking water in the United States has increased, and new attention has been focused on determining and reducing the risk for cryptosporidiosis from community and municipal water supplies.
In otherwise healthy persons, these symptoms usually last 1 to 2 weeks, at which time the immune system is able to stop the infection. In persons with suppressed immune systems, such as persons who have AIDS or recently have had an organ or bone marrow transplant, or undergoing treatment for cancer, the infection may continue and become life-threatening.
People who have normal immune systems improve without taking antibiotic or antiparasitic medications.
The treatment recommended for this diarrheal illness is to drink plenty of fluids and get extra rest. Physicians my prescribe medication to slow the diarrhea during recovery.
Wash hands after using the toilet and before handling food.
If you work in a child-care center where you change children's diapers regularly,
wash hands properly, or if you use gloves, change gloves between each child.
In communitywide outbreaks caused by contaminated drinking water, boil drinking water for 1 minute to kill the parasite. Allow water to cool before drinking it.
HIV-infected persons should avoid drinking water directly from lakes or rivers; avoid unpasteurized milk or milk products; avoid exposure to calves or lambs and places where these animals are raised; wash hands after contact with pets; and wash hands after gardening or other contact with soil. Because of any sexual activity that brings a person in contact with the feces of an infected partner greatly increases the risk for cryptosporidiosis, HIV-infected persons and AIDS patients should follow "safer sex" guidelines and avoid sexual practices that may result in contact with feces.
If you are a caregiver of cryptosporidosis patients, wash hands after bathing patients, emptying bedpans, changing soiled linen, or otherwise coming in contact with the stools of patients.
If you have cryptosporidiosis, wash your hands often to prevent spreading the disease to other members of your household.