CDC warns outbreaks from 'Crypto' parasite found in pools on the rise

Henrietta Brewer
July 4, 2019

Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the States released new information in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report about the increase in cases of Cryptosporidiosis over the last eight years.

The parasite is called cryptosporidium or "crypto". It causes cryptosporidiosis, a profuse, watery diarrhea that can last up to three weeks. Older people, younger children and those with compromised immune systems are at most risk when they contract the parasite, as it could lead to malnutrition.

"The number of treated recreational water-associated outbreaks caused by cryptosporidium drives the summer seasonal peak in both waterborne cryptosporidiosis outbreaks and cryptosporidiosis outbreaks overall", according to a statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the New Jersey Department of Health, again reported by the Patch, the number of cases of crypto has tripled since 2011. As many as 287 people were hospitalized between 2009 and 2017, according to the CDC.

The disease is reportedly not often deadly; however, one person did die in 2009 following an outbreak.

The outbreaks resulted in 7,465 people falling ill. That's 10 more cases than by the same point in 2017.

Eighty-six cases involved contact with animals, mostly cattle. Another 13% of outbreaks were linked to childcare settings and 3% to unpasteurized milk or apple cider.

Why pools?: The reason the parasite is particularly a problem in pools is because "an infected swimmer can excrete the parasite at several orders of magnitude higher than the amount necessary to cause infection", according to CNN.

The concern with crypto, according to the CDC, is that it's tough to kill.

Cryptosporidium, or "crypto", is a hard-to-kill parasite that can resist the chlorine in swimming pools for up to seven days. Patrons are required to shower before entering the pool, and posted signs prohibit swimming within two weeks of having diarrhea.

Almost 20 cases of cryptosporidium parasite have been confirmed in Marion County pools by the Marion County Health Department.

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