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Cryptosporidium parasites (also known as Crypto) are found in every region of the United States and throughout the world. While cryptosporidiosis occurs worldwide, travelers to developing countries may be at greater risk for infection because of poorer water treatment and food sanitation. For travelers to developing countries, risk of infection is highest for those with the greatest exposure to potentially contaminated food or water (both drinking and recreational water).

Foods and beverages, in particular raw fruits and vegetables, tap water, ice made from tap water, unpasteurized milk or dairy products, and items purchased from street vendors might be contaminated with Crypto. Steaming-hot foods, fruits you peel yourself, bottled and canned processed drinks, and hot coffee or tea are probably safe. When swimming in lakes, rivers, or pools, and when using hot tubs, avoid swallowing water. Several outbreaks of Crypto have been traced to swallowing contaminated water while swimming. Crypto can live in chlorinated aquatics venues (e.g., swimming pools, water parks) for days. Crypto also can remain alive in salt water for several days, so swimming in polluted ocean water may also be unsafe.

 
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  • Page last reviewed: November 2, 2010
  • Page last updated: November 2, 2010
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