Symptoms of cryptosporidium to look out for as virus found in UK drinking water

A waterborne virus, which causes a range of unwanted symptoms, has been found in UK drinking water with 16 confirmed cases and another 70 under investigation.

But what is cryptosporidium and what are the symptoms to look out for?

Cryptosporidium, sometimes just called crypto – of no relation to the digital currency – is a disease that can affect humans and animals.

It can be found in water, soil and on surfaces which have been contaminated with faeces of humans or animals infected with the virus.

Cryptosporidiosis spreads via the gut of infected animals and humans. The virus is passed into their poo and then spreads in water. Swallowing water in rivers, lakes or streams as well as through drinking water can pass on the disease.

Today, Wednesday, May 15, people have been taken ill in Brixham in Devon and South West Water has urged customers not to drink tap water without boiling it first. The firm said ‘small traces’ of the virus were identified in its network overnight on Wednesday morning.

Symptoms of cryptosporidium

  • Watery diarrhoea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea 

Symptoms usually last ‘one to two weeks’ but can range from just a few days to four weeks or more even in people with healthy immune systems.

The most common symptom is watery diarrhoea although some people can have the crypto virus with no symptoms at all.

What to do if you think you have crypto virus cryptosporidiosis 

Drink lots of water and fluids to keep hydrated. Maintain a well-balanced diet but stick to plain foods like rice and bread

Avoid caffeine and alcohol as both can lead to dehydration


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