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.

Visit the NHS Inform website to find out about the symptoms of Cryptosporidium and how you can reduce the risk of infection.


Go to the Food Standards Scotland website for guidance on the safe handling of food.

If you are travelling, the fitfortravel website gives advice on reducing the chance of infection by following their food and water precautions.

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

Data and surveillance

Surveillance reports

Data tables

Cryptosporidium spp., Scotland: annual totals as at 7 January 2022
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020*
Cryptosporidium spp. 443 711 430 431 723 786 508 535 502 252


* 2020 data remains provisional

Data source: Public Health Scotland