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CRYPTOSPORIDIUM IS THE genus of parasitic protozoans that cause cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease of humans found worldwide and transmitted locally through contaminated drinking water. Outbreaks occur frequently in dairy farming regions because young cows readily transmit the disease via feces. The organism was discovered in 1907, but it is considered an emerging infectious disease because physicians first observed its role in human illness during the 1970s. Cases of diarrhea are now frequently attributed to this parasite, and the infection is endemic in many developing countries. Cryptosporidium may infect large portions of local populations and may be severe, persistent, or fatal among those with compromised immune systems such as AIDS patients. In the 1980s, increasing rates of cryptosporidiosis were associated with the spread of HIV. Even ...

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