Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 108-118

Cryptosporidiosis in Southern Africa: Review of prevalence and molecular epidemiology of a neglected disease

Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of the Free State, Phuthaditjhaba, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anofi Omotayo T. Ashafa
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of The Free State, Qwaqwa Campus, Private Bag X13, Phuthaditjhaba, 9866
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ATMPH.ATMPH_29_17

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Cryptosporidium spp. are associated with diarrheal disease which leads to nutritional deficiencies and significant morbidity and mortality in children and patients with immune defects. The continuous emergence and molecular diversity of Cryptosporidium spp. still remains a threat to human health in respect of diarrhea and malnutrition in children <5 years. The impact of the cryptosporidiosis is exacerbated by the spread of human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS, and water shortage in most part of Southern Africa and the burden of the disease is underestimated within the region. Both anthroponotic and zoonotic transmission are identified as a common transmission route. Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium infection is still a challenge, and there is a paucity of information on the burden of the parasite in Southern Africa. Ongoing attempts to find appropriate drugs and vaccines to cure and prevent the spread of the disease have limitations; perhaps considering isolation of bioactive compounds from medicinal plants extracts for their effectiveness and potency may be an option in future to control and eliminate the disease. This review considered the prevalence and molecular diversity in respect of transmission routes and associated risk factors. Urgent assessment of public health significance of this parasite in Southern Africa and elsewhere is of utmost importance. It is apparent that there is a need for adequate surveillance in monitoring the pathogen and to control the spread of infection.

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