Crypto outbreaks in swimming pools on the rise in the US

Children swim in the LA Swim Stadium Pool

Children swim in the LA Swim Stadium Pool

CDC releases a list of safety precautions for health hazards and the increasing crypto outbreaks are no exception. It is not yet clear whether the number of outbreaks is rising, or whether there is better outbreak detection with improved surveillance and laboratory methods.

The CDC says outbreaks of an infection linked to swimming pools have doubled in just the past two years. 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.

Crypto can survive in chlorinated pools for up to 10 days, so it's important to protect yourself and others by avoiding the pool if you've been sick with diarrhea.

Ingesting the water could end up giving you Cryptosporidium.

"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. However, Crypto is extremely hard to kill at standard levels of pool disinfectants. Such outbreaks highlighted the difficulties that treated recreational water venues have with crypto, and the CDC noted that the number of people who can become infected by a small number of germs is remarkable.

The CDC is warning parents not to allow kids who are sick with diarrhea to swim.

The CDC recommends rinsing off in the shower before getting into the water to remove any germs on the body that may contaminate the water, and to take kids on bathroom breaks often to check their diapers. A total of 20 Crypto outbreaks linked to swimming were reported in 2011, 16 in 2012, and 13 were reported in 2013.

These results are concerning to experts from the CDC, the Water Quality and Health Council, and the National Swimming Pool Foundation due to the concerns over Crypto.

OH experienced a almost fivefold increase in cryptosporidiosis cases in 2016, with 1,940 reported cases compared with an average 399 cases during the prior four years.

In their report today the authors also detailed examples of recent large Crypto outbreaks in Alabama, Arizona, and Ohio. For example, the researchers said Arizona health officials used the system past year to confirm a specific type of Cryptosporidium that spread to multiple swimming pools around Phoenix.

CDC is working to upgrade CryptoNet with more advanced DNA fingerprinting techniques.

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