Cryptosporidiosis is a disease usually caused by the Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum parasites.

Cryptosporidium parvum can be carried by a wide range of animals including:

  • cattle
  • sheep
  • goats
  • horses
  • pigs
  • cats
  • dogs

There are several ways for Cryptosporidium infection to be acquired:

  • person to person contact with an infected individual
  • contact with infected animals or their faeces
  • drinking contaminated water such as from lochs and streams or from contaminated supplies
  • swimming in contaminated water
  • eating contaminated food such as raw vegetables and salads

Infection can be more severe in people who are immunocompromised.

For information on the symptoms of Cryptosporidium, please visit the NHS inform website.


Guidance on the safe handling of food can be found on the Food Standards Scotland website.

Information about how to reduce the risk of acquiring infections such as Cryptosporidium from the environment is available by visiting the NHS inform website.

The chance of infection can be reduced during travel by following advice on food and water precautions on the fitfortravel website.

For all infection prevention and control guidance visit the A-Z ​pathogens section of the National Infection and Prevention Control Manual.