Authors:Elisabetta Gerace, Vincenzo Di Marco Lo Presti and Carmelo Biondo
Cryptosporidium is a protozoan that infects a wide variety of vertebrates, including humans, causing acute gastroenteritis. The disease manifests with abdominal pain and diarrhea similar to that of choleric infection. In the immunocompromised hosts, the parasite causes prolonged infections that can also be fatal. For this reason, cryptosporidiosis is considered one of riskiest opportunistic infections for patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The best way to control the infection in these patients is setting up sensitive and specific diagnostic tests for epidemiological surveillance and morbidity reduction. Here, we summarized the general aspects of Cryptosporidium infection focusing on available diagnostic tools used for the diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis. Molecular methods currently available for its detection and progress in the development of new diagnostics for cryptosporidiosis are also discussed.