• Shahina Mumtaz
  • Jawad Ahmed
  • Liaqat Ali
  • Hamid Hussain


Background: Cryptosporidium parvum is an emerging pathogen responsible for chronic diarrhoea inchildren and immuno-compromised individuals, especially AIDS patients. Currently, there is noeffective therapeutic strategy for treating cryptosporidiosis, therefore control and supportivetreatment of cryptosporidiosis depends upon rapid and accurate diagnosis of this infection.Methodology: A descriptive study was conducted in the Pathology Department of Khyber MedicalCollege and Pathology Laboratory of Khyber Teaching Hospital over a period of one year March2007–April 2008. A total of 200 stool samples were tested for the presence of C. parvum oocystsfrom children <5 years age suffering from diarrhoea for >5 days. Total and differential leukocytecount was determined to assess immune status of the patients. Modified Ziehl-Neelsen (Z-N)staining, a rapid, sensitive and easy test, was used successfully for the detection of C. parvumoocysts in stool specimen. Results: Cryptosporidium oocysts were found in 18 (9.0%) samples. Outof 18 positive cases, 13 (72.2%) children had lymphopenia hence their immune status was impaired.Infection was common in children between 1–24 months of age. Mean duration of diarrhoea was 11months. Most of C. parvum infected children were consumers of well water (77.8%). Conclusion:Cryptosporidiosis, although a self-limiting disease, rarely investigated routinely, can become chronicand life threatening in immuno-compromised individuals. Majority of affected patients are immunecompromised. Modified Z-N is a sensitive and rapid method which can explore the gravity of thisinfection even further if used routinely and may control morbidity and mortality associated with thisinfection.Keywords: Chronic diarrhoea, modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining, immuno-comprised


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