Zoonotic significance of cryptosporidiosis
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Cryptosporidium spp. is an enteroparasite routinely found in faeces of domestic animals, as well as on the environment, and cryptosporidiosis is considered a zoonosis, being classified by the World Health Organization as an emerging disease. Infected animals, especially cattle, are a source of environmental and human infection, because they eliminate large numbers of oocysts in their feces. Symptoms, when present, are characterized by watery diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal pain, weight loss and eventually death, especially in immunosuppressed individuals, patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and children. Effective therapeutic methods for eliminating this agent in animals and humans have not been developed, but it is necessary to apply support treatment in infected individuals. Basic sanitation, use of appropriate methods for inactivation of oocysts and care with personal hygiene are recommended as prophylactic methods, aiming to minimize the spread of Cryptosporidium. This chapter has the objective of describing the importance of cryptosporidiosis in public health and as a zoonosis.
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