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Test ID: CRYPS Cryptosporidium Antigen, Feces

Reporting Name

Cryptosporidium Ag, F

Useful For

Establishing the diagnosis of intestinal cryptosporidiosis

Clinical Information

Cryptosporidia are small apicomplexan protozoan parasites that infect the intestinal tract of humans and animals. They were conventionally categorized as coccidia but are now known to be more closely related to the gregarines. Many species may infect humans, with the most common being Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum. Infected humans and animals shed small (4-6 micrometer in diameter) infectious oocysts in their stool, and these can subsequently contaminate and survive in recreational and drinking water supplies.


Infection of humans occurs by the fecal-oral route or via ingestion of contaminated water or food. Infection is easily acquired, with an infectious dose of approximately 100 oocysts. Waterborne transmission is a primary mode of transmission and is commonly responsible for human outbreaks. This is because Cryptosporidium species oocysts are resistant to cold temperatures and chlorine and require extensive filtration or water treatment to remove them from drinking water.


The incubation period is typically 7 to 10 days following exposure. While most patients have symptoms, approximately 30% of infected individuals are asymptomatic. When symptoms are present, they usually include profuse watery diarrhea, malaise, anorexia, nausea, crampy abdominal pain, and low-grade fever. Infection is usually self-limited in immunocompetent individuals, with resolution of symptoms in 10 to 14 days. However, diarrhea can be prolonged and life-threatening in immunocompromised patients such as those with AIDS, infants, and older adults, and result in severe dehydration and wasting.


The fecal ova and parasite examination is an insensitive method for detecting Cryptosporidium, given the small size of the oocysts and their lack of trichrome staining. Instead, use of this test, or the multiplex gastrointestinal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) panel (GIP / Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel, PCR, Feces), is recommended for sensitive and specific detection. This antigen test is ideal for situations in which cryptosporidiosis is highly suspected (eg, outbreak scenarios), whereas the PCR panel allows for simultaneous detection of multiple parasitic, viral, and bacterial causes of diarrhea.


For more information about diagnostic tests that may be of value in evaluating patients with diarrhea, see the following:

-Parasitic Investigation of Stool Specimens Algorithm

-Laboratory Testing for Infectious Causes of Diarrhea


A positive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay result indicates the presence of antigens of cryptosporidium and is interpreted as evidence of infection with that organism.


Interpretation of results should be correlated with patient symptoms and clinical picture.

Testing Algorithm

For other diagnostic tests that may be of value in evaluating patients with diarrhea; the following algorithms are available:

-Parasitic Investigation of Stool Specimens Algorithm

-Laboratory Testing for Infectious Causes of Diarrhea

Report Available

Same day/1 to 3 days

Day(s) Performed

Monday through Saturday

Clinical Reference

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Parasites-Cryptosporidium (also known as "Crypto"). CDC; Updated July 1, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2022. Available at

2. Garcia LS, Arrowood M, Kokoskin E, et al. Practical guidance for clinical microbiology laboratories: Laboratory diagnosis of parasites from the gastrointestinal tract. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2017 Nov 15;31(1):e00025-17. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00025-17

Method Name

Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)

Specimen Type


Specimen Required

Submit only 1 of the following specimens:


Specimen Type: Preserved feces


-Formalin 10% Buffered Neutral 15 mL (T466)

-Stool Collection Kit, Random (T635)


Preferred: Stool container with 10% buffered formalin preservative

Acceptable: SAF (sodium acetate formalin)

Specimen Volume: 5 g

Specimen Stability Information: Ambient (preferred) 60 days


Specimen Type: Unpreserved feces


-Stool container, Small (Random), 4 oz (T288)

-Stool Collection Kit, Random (T635)

Container/Tube: Stool container

Specimen Volume: 5 g

Specimen Stability Information: Frozen 60 days

Specimen Minimum Volume

1 g

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Fecal Varies

Reference Values


Test Classification

This test has been cleared, approved, or is exempt by the US Food and Drug Administration and is used per manufacturer's instructions. Performance characteristics were verified by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements.

CPT Code Information


LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
CRYPS Cryptosporidium Ag, F 6371-9


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
24086 Cryptosporidium Ag, F 6371-9


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send 1 of the following forms with the specimen:

-Gastroenterology and Hepatology Client Test Request (T728)

-Microbiology Test Request (T244)

Mayo Clinic Laboratories | Neurology Catalog Additional Information:

mml-CNS-Infections, mml-Pediatric