Cryptosporidium parvum is part of the coccidia group of the phylum Apicomplexa. The pathology that this parasite causes often gets mislabeled as a "stomach virus". The infection is self-limiting so no treatment is needed normally. Infection lasts only 6-8 days. There was a serious outbreak of C. parvum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1993 where 4,400 people were hospitalized and 69 people died. The outbreak was attributed to C. parvum sporozoites going straight through the filter system at the local water treatment facility.
In the USA; 30% of people have antibodies. 0.4% are infected at any time.
Cryptosporidium parvum has a life cycle that is like the Eimeria sp. life cycle. A human host ingests sporozoites. The sporozoite invades host cells where it becomes a trophozoite (the feeding stage). The parasite then undergoes schizogany and the schizont is formed. Eventually, the parasite will burst the host cell and release merozoites. From there, a merozoite can do several things. It can undergo gamogony and form a male or female gametes. The male and female gametes can then be joined to form a diploid zygote. Another path the merozoite can take is infecting another host cell and becoming another trophozoite to eventually undergo schizogany again.
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