Cryptosporidium from Contaminated Water
Cryptosporidium, more commonly known as Crypto, is a parasite that causes food poisoning. Although it can be spread in a variety of ways, drinking contaminated water is the most common method of transmission. All foodborne illnesses are dangerous, but ingesting Cryptosporidium is especially serious, as the parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside of the body for substantial periods of time and also makes it tolerant to chlorine disinfection. If you have been diagnosed with Crypto and know the source of the contamination, you could be eligible to recover damages, so if you are suffering from the symptoms of food poisoning, it is critical to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case.
Who is at Risk?
Humans can be infected with Crypto by swallowing contaminated water or beverages that contain the parasite, or:
- Swallowing or putting something in the mouth that has come into contact with the stool of an animal or person that is infected;
- Swallowing recreational water that has been contaminated with sewage or feces;
- Eating uncooked food that is contaminated with Crypto; or
- Touching the mouth with hands that have become contaminated through contact with infected surfaces, caring for an infected person, handling an infected animal, or changing diapers.
While anyone can be infected with Crypto, there are certain individuals who are more at risk of infection, including:
- Children who attend daycare;
- Childcare workers;
- Parents of infected children;
- International travelers who visit countries with poorer water treatment and food sanitation practices;
- Hikers and campers who drink unfiltered or untreated water;
- People who drink from unprotected, shallow, or untreated water wells;
- Swimmers; and
- Workers who handle infected cattle.
People with decreased immunity are also at risk of becoming infected and suffering from severe symptoms. This includes people with AIDS, those with inherited diseases, and cancer or transplant patients who take immunosuppressive drugs. However, these are not the only individuals who can become infected, as the CDC estimates that around 748,000 people are diagnosed with Crypto every year.
Crypto symptoms usually manifest within two to 10 days after ingestion of the parasite and include:
- Watery diarrhea;
- Stomach cramps and pain;
- Fever; and
- Weight loss.
In most cases, symptoms last for around one to two weeks, although some may experience a recurrence of symptoms after a brief period of recovery. This is largely due to the fact that Crypto parasites can live in the intestines for weeks after infection. Unfortunately, there is still no cure for Crypto infection, so most patients are required to wait out the symptoms. Hydration is key during this period, as diarrhea causes an excessive loss of water from the body.
Call Today for Help with Your Case
Food handlers, vendors, and manufacturers are required to comply with specific health and sanitation standards when preparing and serving food. Similarly, cities must ensure that their water supplies are clean and free of parasites. When these standards are not upheld, thousands of people are put at risk of infection. To learn more about holding these entities responsible for your own foodborne illness, please call Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 737-201-0543.