A fecal parasite that can live in swimming pools for up to a week is on the rise. The parasite is called "crypto." The full name is Cryptosporidium and because of it, you can get cryptosporidiosis.

CNN writes that cryptosporidiosis "can leave healthy adults suffering from "profuse, watery diarrhea" for as long as three weeks." This disease is worse in children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems. You can get this disease if you swallow water that has been contaminated.

CNN says that crypto can get into pools when "an infected swimmer can excrete the parasite at several orders of magnitude higher than the amount necessary to cause infection." And unfortunately, crypto cannot be killed by chlorine. It can survive up to a week in a properly chlorinated pool.

287 people have been hospitalized with cryptosporidiosis between 2009 and 2017. This disease is not fatal but one person has died because of it. CNN reports that the person died "in the sole instance in which the parasite was transmitted in a hospital setting."

How can crypto be prevented from spreading?

  • If your kid has diarrhea, don't send them to daycare.
  • If you're a child care provider and you've had a cryptosporidiosis outbreak clean everything with hydrogen peroxide because chlorine bleach doesn't kill the parasite.
  • If you come in contact with livestock make sure to thoroughly wash your hands and remove clothes and shoes that could contaminate other areas, like your home.
  • If you have diarrhea, do not get into a pool, lake, etc. until it's been at least 2 weeks since diarrhea has subsided.

 

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