Cryptosporidiosis, is a parasitic disease caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium. It affects the distal small intestine and can affect the respiratory tract in both immunocompetent (i.e., individuals with a normal functioning immune system) and immunocompromised (e.g., persons with HIV/AIDS) individuals, resulting in watery diarrhea with or without an unexplained cough. In immunocompromised individuals, the symptoms are particularly severe and can be fatal. It is primarily spread through the fecal-oral route, often through contaminated water.
In most healthy people, cryptosporidium infection produces a bout of watery diarrhea and the infection usually goes away within a week or two. If you have a compromised immune system, a cryptosporidium infection can become life-threatening without proper treatment.
You can help prevent a cryptosporidium infection by practicing good hygiene and avoiding swallowing water from pools, recreational water parks, lakes and streams.