Cryptosporidium, or “crypto,” is a water-borne parasite that causes a disease called cryptosporidiosis. Crypto is the leading cause of diarrhea caused by contact with water. Summer is the worst season for crypto, as the hot temperatures create ideal conditions for the virus to thrive. Over the past decade, the number of reported crypto cases has been rising as outbreaks become more frequent. Here are some tips for how to avoid catching this water-borne pathogen.
Listed below are some statistics from the CDC about the scope of the crypto problem:
- The number of outbreaks increased approximately 13% on average per year for a total of 444 outbreaks resulting in 7,456 cases;
- Pools and waterparks are linked with 56.7% of the cases;
- The eight Great Lake states reported 57.2% of the outbreaks and 44.7% of the cases;
- The number of reported outbreaks by month peaks during July-August.
How to Avoid Contamination
Cyrpto is transmitted through fecal-oral transmission, often occurs through accidental ingestion of contaminated pool water. This means that anyone who has had diarrhea should wait at least two weeks before going swimming in pools, lakes, or any other public access body of water. One of the reasons why crpyto is so prevalent is that it is highly resistant to chlorine, the most common chemical used to kill pathogens in water. Crypto can survive in chlorinated water, even if it has been treated and filtered according to the CDC’s standards. This means that people shouldn’t assume pools are pathogen-free, even if the water appears to be treated. The symptoms can last up to three weeks, and symptoms show up after two-ten days. To reduce your chance of spreading or catching crypto:
- Never swim if ill with diarrhea;
- Never swallow water while at the pool;
- Avoid water that might be contaminated;
- Check local resources for warnings about crpyto outbreaks;
- Wash hands or use hand sanitizer often when visiting a pool or lake for recreation.
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