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Is cryptosporidium contagious?

Page last updated 28 February 2019

Yes, cryptosporidium is highly contagious and spreads easily from an infected person (who sheds millions of parasites in their faeces). Therefore, any slip up in proper hygiene or food preparation practices can transmit the parasite to unsuspecting travellers. As you can imagine, when you’re feeling unwell and experiencing diarrhoea, you may not realise when you are contaminating surfaces and putting others at risk. For those who like to get out amongst nature, cryptosporidium can still be a problem. It’s not just people who spread the disease – animals can too. It can also be contracted by drinking from untreated water sources like lakes or streams where infected animals may have contaminated them. Therefore you should think twice before filling up that water bottle on a hike through the forest.

If you or your travel companions are unwell, consider others and avoid public areas as much as possible. Also, avoid entering swimming pools or spas for at least two weeks after symptoms of the disease have stopped to make sure you don’t pose a risk to others.

Sources & Citations

  1. Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel. Gastroenteritis - cryptosporidiosis. Available at: (accessed 25 October 2018).
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sources of infection and risk factors. Cryptosporidium. Available at: (accessed 25 October 2018).

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.10.0375 - Date of preparation October 2018