The Pathogen

Cryptosporidium (or Crypto for short) is a microscopic parasitic protozoan responsible for causing diarrheal disease called cryptosporidiosis. Crypto multiplies exclusively in the intestines of its hosts like farm animals and birds, as well as humans. It can remain dormant, or inactive, for great lengths of time when released into the environment.  That is until it manages to enter another host and multiply once again.  In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control says that Cryptosporidium is responsible for 93.5% of waterborne disease outbreaks in all states in 2007 alone, involving more than 12,000 cases.

The most notable Crypto outbreak in the US was in Milwaukee, WI. In 1993, cryptosporidium oocysts passed through the filtration system of one of the city's two water-treatment plants. The oocysts were believed to originate from a sewage treatment plant's outlet two miles upstream in Lake Michigan. Over the span of approximately two weeks, 403,000 of an estimated 1.61 million residents in the Milwaukee area became ill and at least 104 deaths were attributed to the outbreak.

Crypto is easily introduced in the environment via untreated sewage, farm runoff and the use of manure as fertilizer. Anyone can become infected by accidentally swallowing Cryptosporidium cysts through contaminated food, non-potable water, and unwashed hands. Those with normal immune systems may only experience bouts of diarrhea for a few days, some none at all. But those with weak immune systems, or who are immunocompromised, may experience massive dehydration that can lead to shock and death if not addressed quickly. Such vulnerable groups include children, pregnant women, elderly, HIV/AIDS patients, and individuals undergoing chemotherapy or steroid treatments. Daycare children particularly are at high risk due to frequent diaper changes. Those who are moderately at risk include backpackers, campers and travelers who may drink or use unfiltered water in cooking and bathing, swimmers and those who work with livestock and poultry.

The Problem

Cryptosporidiosis outbreaks are becoming increasingly common today because the pathogen is easily introduced in the environment. Outbreaks since 1987 often involve thousands of people, in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and Sweden. Sources of outbreaks include public water supply systems, water parks and swimming pools.

Cryptosporidium is highly resistant to chlorine-based chemicals that are often used in rural or low-cost water treatment systems. Cryptosporidiosis is a constant public health concern, specifically due to it’s fecal-oral route to infection, its resistance to primary water treatment methods and the long test times required for diagnosis.

A majority of hospital laboratories are often not equipped to process Crypto samples. As such, specific Cryptosporidium tests must be requested at large medical centers, taking at least 14 days.  Because vulnerable individuals experience massive and frequent diarrheic episodes, the need to quickly identify the pathogen is paramount if the appropriate medication is to be given quickly enough to be effective.

The standard medication for Cryptosporidiosis such as nitazoxanide and paromomycin are not commonly given to individuals when the cause of diarrhea is unknown. These drugs are only given when diagnosis of Cryptosporidiosis has been firmly established because of their tax on the body. Therefore, quick identification of the pathogen is needed before drug therapy can be instituted.

The NanoLogix Solution - Live-threat microorganism detection in less than 4 hours

In times of massive diarrheic episodes, there is a need for quick identification of the offending pathogen so the right drug can be given before any serious complications occur. NanoLogix technology provides rapid detection of Cryptosporidium spores so the appropriate medication can be given, for faster recovery and saving the life of the patient.

The methods used by NanoLogix to detect Cryptosporidium is more accurate and several times faster compared to common methods today, just 4 hours compared to current 14+ days of conventional culture wait times. Our innovative and advanced test kits, such as BNF, deliver quick, accurate and live-cell results, without using sophisticated and expensive equipment. The BNF kits are economical and convenient, and can be done by technicians without the need for extensive training.

Quick and accurate diagnosis is especially needed for cases of Cryptosporidiosis among pregnant women, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, individuals with HIV and the elderly. Quick determination of diagnosis is also critical for sudden onset of massive diarrhea outbreaks among the public.  With NanoLogix technology, pathogens responsible for diseases like Cryptosporidiosis can be diagnosed and treated dramatically faster, ultimately saving lives and protecting the public health.