May 26, 2017

"Crypto" outbreaks in swimming pools on the rise

19 May 2017, 05:39 | Winifred Adams

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Crypto Parasite Top Culprit for Pool Related Illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control reports that there were 32 Crypto outbreaks linked to swimming pools and water playgrounds in 2016, twice as many as in 2014.

Standard levels of chlorine and other pool disinfectants kill most germs within a few minutes.

A survey conducted by the Water Quality Health Council found that 25 percent of adults would swim within an hour of having diarrhea.

Don't let kids who are sick with diarrhea swim in a pool, advises Michele Hlavsa, R.N., chief of CDC's Healthy Swimming Program. Crypto infection causes diarrhea, cramps, nausea and vomiting.

"So, really, this is just a reminder to everyone (that) we have to be smarter about how we swim, and swim healthy, not swim with diarrhea and not swallow the water we swim in", Hlavsa said.

Cryptosporidium, or crypto, is a parasite that has been linked to pools and water parks.

"Normal chlorine disinfection of swimming pool water does a great job in destroying most germs, but Crypto presents a special challenge", said Dr. Chris Wiant, chair of the Water Quality and Health Council.

If you're planning to take a dip in a pool this summer, make sure to plug your nose and close your mouth.

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Ingesting the water could end up giving you Cryptosporidium.

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.

The CDC also recommends that parents make sure young people shower before they get into the water.

"This is a really tough bug to kill once it gets in the water", Hlavsa said.

Arizona reported 352 lab-confirmed cases between July and October 2016, compared with a maximum 62 cases detected annually in years prior.

Alabama, Arizona, Ohio, and other states examined and controlled outbreak of Crypto connected to swimming pools or water playgrounds in the year 2016. OH identified 1,940 Crypto incidents in 2016 while comparing with no more than 571 cases for any one year in 2012-2015.

CDC is working to improve CryptoNet with more advanced DNA fingerprinting techniques. Examining the results combined with information on what patients were doing before they became sick will help CDC and its public health partners develop more effective strategies to stop the spread of Crypto.

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week begins on May 22, so the CDC is encouraging swimmers to be vigilant and help protect themselves and other swimmers from cryptosporidium.

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