By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) report an increase in cases of infection with the protozoan parasite, Cryptosporidium.
In 2018, 348 cases of cryptosporidiosis were reported to the Registry of Infectious Diseases, an increase of almost 20 times compared to the early 2010s when an average of 19 (5-78 cases per year) were reported in the last 10 years.
In just the first five months of 2019, 136 cases of cryptosporidiosis have already been reported. THL is investigating the sources of the cases through questionnaire and laboratory studies in cooperation with the Food Agency.
Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Cryptosporidium. The illnesses spread when people come into contact with fecal matter from an infected person or animal. The parasite is able to survive outside the human body for long periods of time and is highly resistant to chlorine.
Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis often include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss and low-grade fever. People typically become ill about a week after exposure, but this can range from two to 14 days. Most people recover in one to two weeks, but they will continue to shed the parasite in their stools for at least two weeks after symptoms end. Approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of cases require hospitalization for their illness. Illness can be especially severe or prolonged in people with weakened immune systems.