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Don't drink the water: CDC says diarrhea-inducing parasite on therise in U.S. pools
If you’re planning to take a dip in a pool this summer, make
sure to plug your nose and close your mouth. Any inadvertent
ingestion of even chlorinated pool water could wind up giving
you cryptosporidium. 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.
This isn’t a new parasite, but according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, the number of recorded crypto
outbreaks has doubled at U.S. pools and water playgrounds in two
years. In 2014, there were 16 outbreaks, according to data
published by the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on
Thursday. In 2016, there were 32.
Ohio was one of the most heavily-infected states, according to
the CDC, with 1,940 people falling ill due to the infection in
2016 compared to less than 600 in any previous year.
Before you cancel your child’s swim lessons, however, the CDC
said it’s not sure what accounts for the rise in recorded
“It is not clear whether the number of outbreaks has increased
or whether better surveillance and laboratory methods are
leading to better outbreak detection,” it said in a press
Once a pool or water playground is infected with crypto, it’s
easy to spread, but not easy to get rid of. It can survive up to
10 days in properly chlorinated water, and it takes just a swig
to get sick. The only way to ensure the health of the water once
its been infected is to close the pool and treat it with
extremely high levels of chlorine that are dangerous for humans
to swim in.
Meanwhile, the only way to ensure your own health is to take
precautions when swimming in pools or playing at water parks.
The CDC recommends avoiding swallowing any water and rinsing off
in the shower once you get out.
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.
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