Home » today » Health » “The worst stomach bug ever” – This is easily contagious calf diarrhea – 2024-02-25 12:14:49

“The worst stomach bug ever” – This is easily contagious calf diarrhea – 2024-02-25 12:14:49

Soile was in the grip of violent calf diarrhea for a couple of weeks. A very easily contagious disease can also be spread from one person to another.

– I knew right away that it was no ordinary stomach disease.

That’s what the Liperian saw Marsh thought quickly when the abdominal symptoms of so-called calf diarrhea started suddenly a few years ago with watery diarrhea and vomiting.

– The stomach cramps were the worst ever, and nothing stayed inside, not even water.

The symptoms were severe from the beginning, but Soile persevered for a couple of days at home, expecting the symptoms to ease soon, as is usually the case with stomach ailments.

– However, within a couple of days I was in such bad shape that the ambulance came to pick me up at my own health center, where I was lying on the floor.

The weekend was coming, and Soile was discharged, but he was told to go to the emergency room if the symptoms did not improve. He went there that same evening when his stomach cramps got worse. He ended up spending nine days in the hospital.

Soile describes her cryptosporidiosis as the worst stomach disease of her life. Simple album

Increasing amount

We recently told you that cryptosporidiosis, in addition to the corona virus, is a significant factor in the rise of occupational diseases in 2020. Most cryptosporidiosis cases are found in agriculture.

According to the Institute of Health and Welfare (THL), the number of cryptosporidiosis cases causing diarrhea has increased almost 20-fold compared to the beginning of the 2000s.

According to THL, the increase is partially explained by the introduction of the PCR method and the increased disease findings in calves.

The PCR test is a gene amplification test from stool that is used in most laboratories. It can be used to find, in addition to Cryptosporidium, the three most common intestinal protozoa.

An infected calf excretes a large amount of protozoan reproductive forms, oocysts, in its excrement, a very small amount of which is enough to infect a person. Adobe stock/AOP

From the scraps of the barn

The test results of Soile, who is lying in the hospital ward, have not yet found anything to explain the severe diarrhea. His friend had just read about cryptosporidiosis and urged Soile to ask the doctor to investigate this possibility as well.

– At that time there was almost no disease in the Joensuu region, so it was considered very unlikely.

However, it was the calf diarrhea that eventually turned out to be the cause of the symptoms.

The source of infection was a visit to the barn a few days ago.

Soile had been in Ostrobothnia visiting a friend’s barn, where she helped the veterinarian with his work by holding the calves.

– Then the calf would dig the ground so that bits of feces flew into my face. The infection probably came from that, although I couldn’t connect it myself. The farm had previously had calf diarrhea.

With the stool PRC test, the disease caused by the Cryptosporidium protozoan can be found. Adobe stock/AOP

A serious disease

Although the name of the disease was now known, the feeling did not improve, because the treatment of calf diarrhea is mainly symptomatic. Soile describes her condition as terrible.

– I had watery diarrhea 15 times a day and nothing still stayed inside. The stomach bug was the worst I’ve ever had.

To help, we also thought about a specially licensed product that can be given to treat a disease with strong symptoms. However, according to the Health Library, it only works in about half of the cases. In the end, it was not used for Soile because he was basically healthy, and the disease usually heals on its own.

During her hospital stay, Soile said she lost 6 kilos.

– My cheeks were completely hollow when I got home. Eating started to succeed only when the diarrhea stopped and the stomach started to calm down. Feeling weak lasted for a long time.

Often the whole family gets sick with calf diarrhea, but no one else in Soile’s family got the disease.

At that time, the family also had its own dairy farm in Polvijärvi. After the symptoms ended, Soilen had to stay away from the barn for another couple of weeks due to the risk of infection.

– I was terribly afraid that I would infect my own cattle. Fortunately, this did not happen.


Also about food

Cryptosporidiosis is caused by the protozoan Cryptosporidium, which is found all over the world. There are several different species, several of which can cause disease in humans.

Cryptosporidium is highly contagious and can be transmitted from animal to human or directly from one person to another.

The protozoa is transmitted through drinking water or food contaminated with human or animal feces.

Several small epidemics have been described in Finland, where either food or drinking water has been identified as the source of infection.

In Finland, some infections have been acquired from spas, so infection from swimming water is also possible. Chlorination does not destroy cryptosporidium.

Symptoms usually start a week after infection. The incubation period is 1‒22 days.

The most common symptom of the disease is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and mild fever.

The disease usually gets better on its own with basic health. Symptoms usually last 2-4 days, but can last up to four weeks.

Infection can also be asymptomatic. In immunocompromised and young children, the disease can even be life-threatening.

Infection is prevented by washing hands with soap before cooking, eating and after going to the toilet. In animal facilities, it is important to use protective gloves and protect the eyes and mouth from splashes.

Sources: Terveyskirjast.fi, Food Agency, THL

The story was published for the first time on February 9, 2024.

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