CDC Issues Warning About Fecal Parasite In Swimming Pools

Grant Boone
July 4, 2019

It is said to be the leading cause of disease outbreaks in the United States linked to water, specifically outbreaks linked to public pools or water playgrounds. It causes cryptosporidiosis, a profuse, watery diarrhea that can last up to three weeks.

And, Miami-Dade has the second-most 2019 cases of cryptosporidiosis in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health's Reportable Diseases Frequency Report.

Young children are particularly susceptible to spreading the disease and experiencing severe symptoms, said registered nurse Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC's Healthy Swimming Program.

"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. "They don't know how to use the toilet and wash their hands, or are just learning how", she said.

The warning came from the CDC's recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which highlighted an average 13 percent increase in cryptosporidiosis outbreaks each year from 2009 to 2017.

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You can also get crypto by drinking unpasteurized raw apple cider or milk, by touching your mouth with contaminated hands, or by not washing your hands after touching cattle other animals. The 444 outbreaks sickened 7,465 people, hospitalized 287 and killed one.

The parasite is 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.

The parasite has an outer shell that makes it tough to kill.

The CDC explains that Cryptosporidium, called "Crypto" for short, "is spread through the poop of infected humans or animals".

35% of cases were linked to water playgrounds and pools. And people who are dealing with a case of diarrhea should abstain from swimming until at least two weeks after diarrhea subsides.

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