Jul 03, 2019

Parasite Outbreaks Increase in Swimming Pools

CDC reports around 7,500 people over 10 years have become sick from Cryptosporidium outbreak

CDC reports around 7,500 people have become sick from Cryptosporidium outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned swimmers about a parasite that can live in pools for days at a time. According to The Washington Post, the fecal parasite Cryptosporidium, or “Crypto,” has had an increased number of outbreaks in the last week. 

Crypto causes the disease cryptosporidiosis, which has side effects like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that can last for weeks, according to the CDC. However, most cases do not require medical treatment but the parasite can be more harmful to those who are young, old or have a compromised immune system. 

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report highlighted a 13% increase in outbreaks from 2009 to 2017, according to the Post. Around 7,500 people have become sick in the U.S. from outbreaks in the last decade, according to this report. Researchers said the most common cause was consuming contaminated water from recreational places. 

About 35% of outbreaks have been linked to swimming pools and playgrounds, and around 15% were linked to those in contact with infected cattle, and 13% were those in contact with infected people in child care, according to CDC.

According to the Post, young children are in serious danger of getting sick and spreading Crypto. 

“They don’t know how to use the toilet and wash their hands, or are just learning how,” said Michele Hlavsa, head of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program, according to the Post. “But we as parents can take steps to help keep our kids healthy in the water, around animals, and in child care.”

According to the CDC, the parasite lives in the intestines of the infected. Even small amounts of infected fecal matter on hands can contaminate food, beverages or swimming pools. Others who ingest it can become infected, according to public health experts.