Cryptosporidium in countries of the arab world: The past decade (2002-2011)

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INTRODUCTION: Cryptosporidium is the causative agent of cryptosporidiosis. The disease is self-limited in immunocompetent persons but potentially life-threatening in immunocompromised individuals.<br /><br />METHODS: The data included in the present review were obtained mainly from a Highwire Press (including PubMed) search for the period 2002-2011.<br /><br />RESULTS: Information on cryptosporidiosis is lacking in some Arab countries; however available data show prevalence rates of <1-43% (mean = 8.7%) of Cryptosporidium infection in diarrheic immunocompetent pediatrics and <1-82% (mean 41%) in immunocompromised patients (including children and adults). Infection rate with Cryptosporidium species among pediatrics in rural and semiurban areas was higher than in urban areas. Cryptosporidium-associated diarrhea occurs mainly in younger children and inversely correlates with age, being more prevalent in children aged 1 year or less, particularly in rural and suburban regions. Although most Arab countries are characterized by a hot summer and a mild winter, infection with Cryptosporidium appears to occur at a higher rate of incidence during the rainy months that are usually associated with the cold season of the year. Contact with animals and contaminated waters are the main modes of transmission of cryptosporidia. Reports of C. hominis from the region indicate that person-to-person transmission is also important. Foreign housekeepers in oil-rich countries may be a source of Cryptosporidium.<br /><br />CONCLUSION: Cryptosporidium species, mainly C. parvum, are important causes of diarrhea in countries of the Arab world, particularly in children. In addition to educational programs that promote personal, household, as well as food hygiene, improving water treatment processes and protection of treated waters from contamination should be implemented by the health and environmental authorities in each country. More studies employing molecular testing methods are needed in the future to provide data on circulating species/genospecies and subtypes and their modes of transmission in the community.




Ghenghesh, K. S., Ghanghish, K., El-Mohammady, H., & Franka, E. (2012). Cryptosporidium in countries of the arab world: The past decade (2002-2011). Libyan Journal of Medicine. Co-Action Publishing.

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