Skip to content


Cryptosporidium or crypto for short is a parasite that lives in the stomachs of many animals and humans. It is spread from animal and human poop. This disease can be found in water, food, soil, or on surfaces and it causes watery diarrhea (runny poop).


How can I get sick? 

  • Swallowing water from swimming pools, rivers, lakes, or fountains that have the parasite* or it’s eggs.  
  • Crypto can live in chlorine water for a long time 
  • Drinking beverages or ice that have crypto. 
  • Eating undercooked* food or drinking raw milk that has crypto.  
  • Touching your face or mouth with dirty hands.  
  • Accidently touching poop from a person or animal that has crypto. 

Symptoms in humans:  

Symptoms usually start 2 to 10 days after getting the parasite.  

  • Watery diarrhea (runny poop) 
    • (most common)  
  • Stomach cramps or pain 
  • Dehydration* 
  • Feeling like you need to throw up 
  • Throwing up 
  • Fever (when your body gets a little hotter than normal) 

  • Weight loss 

 What can I do to stay healthy? 

  • Proper HandwashingWash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub your thumbs, between your fingers and the tops and bottoms of your hands. Dry your hands with a paper towel. 


  • Make sure to separate sick animals from healthy animals.  
  • Clean and sanitize* equipment and surfaces that touch sick humans or animals.  
  • Do not swim if you have diarrhea (runny poop). Wait 2 weeks until after diarrhea (runny poop) has stopped.  
  • Do not swallow pool water.  
  • Do not touch water that may have the parasite or it’s eggs.  
  • Do not drink water from rivers, lakes, or streams. Use bottled water instead. If you don’t have bottled water, you can use a filter designed to remove bacteria and parasites including crypto or you can boil your water for at least 1 minute before drinking.  
  • Do not eat food that may have crypto or its eggs including raw milk.  
  • Be extra careful when traveling. Do not eat uncooked foods and only drink treated water.  


  • Dehydration: When there’s not enough water in your body.
  • Sanitize: An action taken to keep places clean and healthy. 
  • Parasite: A parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism, called a host. Parasites can cause diseases in humans or animals
  • Undercooked: Cooking food less than the recommended time or temperature.

Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.