Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection that especially affects ruminants. Its clinical and economic consequences are mainly pronounced in young animals. It is a zoonotic disease that is capable of infecting non-immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals (young children, the immunodeficient).
Its prevalence in ruminant livestock systems is difficult to estimate. In Europe, however, a few studies have enabled the observation of a prevalence that ranges from 20-70% within cattle farms with an estimated 68% in France1. In sheep farms, a variable prevalence is estimated, that ranges from 18-75%.
It is primarily asymptomatic in adult animals. Contracted by the foetus, the newborn or young ruminants, it manifests itself via intense diarrheal episodes that can stunt growth in the animal and can even be lethal in the absence of treatment. Each year, it thereby results in very high economic losses due to reduced productivity, mortality and the costs associated with the rehydration phases and the treatments that need to be implemented.
In humans, the disease mainly manifests itself via diarrhea episodes, which are potentially associated with other symptoms: abdominal cramps, nausea, dizziness spells, mild fever and weight loss. In immunocompetent individuals, these symptoms do not pose a serious threat. However in vulnerable subjects (young children, the immunodeficient), they can have serious consequences that can even be life-threatening.
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