Health Care

Fecal Parasite Living in Pools Increasing at Alarming Rates

Fecal Parasite Living in Pools Increasing at Alarming Rates”

It causes cryptosporidiosis, which can leave healthy adults suffering from "profuse, watery diarrhea" for as long as three weeks.

Outbreaks of the gastrointestinal parasite cryptosporidium have been spurting upward since 2009, with the number of outbreaks gushing up an average of 13% each year, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Though it's nearly never fatal, one death has been reported since 2009, according to the CDC.

Although it's nearly never fatal, one death has been reported since 2009 - while 287 people were hospitalized between 2009 and 2017, according to the CDC, which found that the United States has experienced a 13 percent spike in crypto outbreaks per year over time.

Crypto outbreaks are still fairly uncommon in US states and Puerto Rico: 444 were reported from 2009 to 2017, resulting in about 7,500 illnesses, nearly 300 hospitalizations and one death. Those outbreaks resulted in 7,465 people falling ill.

Most Crypto outbreaks happen in the summer, when the weather warms and people flock to pools and water parks.

Untreated water (such as lakes) and drinking water caused 22 more cases. Contact with farm animals, outbreaks in childcare settings, and exposure to contaminated food (mostly unpasteurized milk and apple cider) were also significant sources of outbreaks.

The chain of infection begins when someone with diarrhea has an accident in a pool.

The main trouble is that crypto is extremely tolerant of chlorine and can happily stay afloat in well-treated pools for more than seven days.

Cryptosporidium lives in the intestines of infected people and animals who shed a form of the parasite in their feces, according to the CDC.

Youngsters sick with diarrhea should not be placed in child care, according to the CDC, and following a cryptosporidiosis outbreak, child care workers should clean surfaces with hydrogen peroxide, as chlorine bleach is an ineffective means of killing the parasite. This means that 24 percent say they'd jump in the pool within an hour of having diarrhea and 48 percent do not shower before swimming.

Wash your hands with soap and water after coming in contact with animals or anything in their environment, especially animal poop.

To prevent spreading the parasite, the CDC advises waiting at least two weeks to swim following diarrhea.

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