Cryptosporidiosis is an illness caused by a germ called cryptosporidium.

It causes watery diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever. When the germs are swallowed, they grow in the gut. Symptoms usually start in seven to ten days.

You can catch Cryptosporidiosis any of the following ways:

  • From someone already suffering from the illness
  • From farm animals (especially sheep and cows) and from pets
  • From drinking unpasteurised (green top) milk
  • By drinking water which contains the germ (although it is very rarely found in ordinary tap water)
  • From undercooked and raw meat

In healthy people the illness normally lasts for two to three weeks, though Cryptosporidiosis can threaten the life of people with reduced immunity.

For further advice or information, please do not hesitate to contact the Food Hygiene and Safety Team.

How to avoid Cryptosporidiosis

  • Do not drink water from a stream or other natural source without boiling it first
  • Only drink bottled water whilst on foreign holidays and avoid ice in drinks
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with animals


If you have diarrhoea, drink plenty of fluids. Your body should fight off the germ naturally and no antibiotics are required.

  • Wash hands with soap in warm running water and dry thoroughly, especially before preparing food and after using the toilet
  • Avoid preparing food for other people
  • Make sure everyone at home has their own towel and flannel
  • Clean toilet seats, flush handles, door handles and taps frequently with hot soapy water and disinfectant solution
  • Soiled clothes and bedding should be washed on their own in the washing machine, on the hottest cycle

You must stay away from work or school until symptom free and 48 hours after your first normal stool. If your work involves handling food, nursing or working with the young, sick or elderly, you must tell your employer.

Last updated: Mon 30th July, 2018 @ 16:50