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Cases Of Cryptosporidium On The Rise Says CDC

Cases Of Cryptosporidium On The Rise Says CDC

Summer is gearing up, and pool season is officially here. Pool. Eww. And where there's No. 2 there could be Cryptosporidium, aka Crypto, a parasite that lives in the intestine of infected humans (or animals) and is the most common cause of diarrhea.

They said at least 32 outbreaks were reported in 2016, compared to 16 outbreaks in 2014 and 13 the year before.

"To help protect your family and friends from Crypto and other diarrhea-causing germs, do not swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea", Michele Hlavsa, R.N., M.P.H., chief of CDC's Healthy Swimming Program, said in a statement.

In 2016, Alabama, Arizona, Ohio, and other states investigated and controlled Crypto outbreaks linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds.

The CDC also says people can help contain the germs by avoiding the pool while sick and waiting two weeks after symptoms subside from a suspected case of crypto before going swimming.

However, experts can't tell whether more outbreaks are actually occurring or public health officials have gotten better at detecting them, Hlavsa said. More simply known as "crypto", the microscopic parasite can make otherwise healthy adults and children feel incredibly sick with stomach cramps, nausea and bouts of diarrhea that can last up to three weeks.

Total cases reported to CDC have increased from about 1 in 100,000 in the early 1990s to about four in 100,000 in recent years, she said. The only way to ensure the health of the water once its been infected is to close the pool and treat it with extremely high levels of chlorine that are unsafe for humans to swim in.

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"The oocysts have a hard outer shell, and that makes them very resistant to chemical disinfectants", Hlavsa said.

Don't swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea. Crypto causes watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping and vomiting. CDC recommends closing pools and treating the water with high levels of chlorine.

Don't swallow the water in which you swim.

Between 2008 and 2015, mishandled pool chemicals harmed about 190 people in California in nine separate incidents, the report noted.

In addition, Jennifer Li, senior director of environmental health for NACCHO, said that employees should clear the pool area before starting recirculation pumps, because introduction of concentrated pool chemicals can cause a sudden release of chlorine gas.

For more on healthy and safe swimming, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, the only way to ensure your own health is to take precautions when swimming in pools or playing at water parks.