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Avian Cryptosporidiosis Overview
Avian cryptosporidiosis is a protozoa infection caused by Cryptosporidium spp. (often referred to as "cryptosporidia"). Ducks are most often affected by C. meleagridis and C. baileyi, which can infect a wide range of hosts. Cryptosporidium lifecycle begins when the bird ingests the parasite in it's infective stage, the oocyst. Inside the duck, the oocyst releases four sporozoites, which move into the intestine and take up residence within their epithelial cells. The oocysts are generally small spheres, 4-5 micrometers in diameter, and are highly resilient against chemicals and outside environment factors.
Young and immunocompromised birds are at higher risk of infestation. Cryptosporidium spp. are sporulated when shed in the duck's feces and are resistant to many disinfectants. Formal saline (10%), ammonia (5%) and heating to 65 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes have been thought to provide a means of effective control of the species of parasite.