Cryptosporidium (Crypto) is a microscopic parasite (sized between 3-6 micron) which is most commonly spread by water. This parasite is protected whilst in the Oocyst egg stage allowing it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and by an outer shell when hatched.
Where is it found?
The most common source of Crypto infection is farm faeces, therefore it’s relatively easy for it to find its way into water supplies. This parasite is usually found in inadequately filtered drinking supplies, swimming pools, lakes, rivers and reservoirs (common supply sources).
Crypto is a nasty little bug that can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses, including Cryptosporidiosis. Affecting the intestines of both humans and mammals, symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, dehydration and headaches. Most at risk of infection are young children, the elderly and those with low immune systems. Once infected there is no known treatment.
How to prevent it?
The big question for all those working with water. As Crypto is resistant to most chemicals including chlorine, traditional water treatment methods are insufficient. The best method is to physically remove the parasite using pleated filtration.
Depending on where the tainted water has been round, you can either remove the parasite from the incoming source or before the outlet of water, e.g. taps, vending machines, manufacturing or water processing.