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Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic disease caused by infection with Cryptosporidium spp, usually C. baileyi. The disease usually manifests as a respiratory infection (tracheitis, pneumonia, or air sacculitis) but sometimes as an enteric disease.
Transmission occurs through the ingestion of Cryptosporidium oocysts that are passed in the feces of an infected host. Cryptosporidium does not reproduce outside of a host, and ooysts are infectious immediately upon being excreted in feces. Infection results from the ingestion or inhalation of sporulated oocysts in contaminated water, feed, bedding, and dust. Cryptosporidium infect a wide range of host species, including humans, other mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. The infectious dose is low. Chickens don't need to ingest very many to cause an infection in a healthy bird. Infected birds will shed Cryptosporidium oocysts in their feces for up to 60 days after they have recovered.
Oocysts are capable of surviving outside the chicken for long periods of time (often greater than 6 months duration) in cool, moist environments, especially water sources.
Hauck, Rüdiger Interactions Between Parasites and the Bacterial Microbiota of Chickens. Avian diseases 61.4 (2017)
Samie, A., A. H. Hlungwani, and P. A. Mbati. Prevalence and risk factors of Cryptosporidium species among domestic animals in rural communities in Northern South Africa. Tropical Biomedicine 34.3 (2017)
Churria, Carlos D. Gornatti, et al. Tracheitis in a broiler chicken flock caused by dual infection with Cryptosporidium spp.(Apicomplexa: Cryptosporiidae) and non-hemolytic Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Pathology 5.2 (2017)