Fecal parasites found in pools getting summer swimmers sick: CDC

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Fecies in the pool is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you’re going for a swim this summer, the CDC warns summer swimmers about encountering Cryptosporidium — or “crypto,” —in a pool, because it could give produce an intense — and potentially dangerous — diarrhea that can plague someone who contracts it for as long as three weeks.

Crypto is a parasite that’s spread through fecal matter of infected humans or animals. According to the CDC, people can get sick if they swallow contaminated water or food, or even if they contact a human or animal that’s already been infected. If contracted, it causes “profuse, watery diarrhea” that can last up to three weeks and have life-threatening consequences.


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“The number of treated recreational water-associated outbreaks caused by Cryptosporidium drives the summer seasonal peak in both waterborne cryptosporidiosis outbreaks and cryptosporidiosis outbreaks overall,” the report, released Friday, said.

Since 2009, there’s been one death linked to crypto, but 287 people have been hospitalized between 2009 and 2017, the CDC reported.

Thirty-five percent of the outbreaks were linked to swimming water found in places like pools or water playgrounds, according to the research. It’s spread by people who swim shortly after having diarrhea.

“Young children can get seriously sick and easily spread Crypto,” said Michele Hlavsa, R.N., M.P.H., CDC Healthy Swimming Program chief. “They don’t know how to use the toilet and wash their hands or are just learning how. But we as parents can take steps to help keep our kids healthy in the water, around animals, and in childcare.”

The CDC has asked swimmers to take extra precaution this summer, by following these tips

  • Do not swim or let kids swim if they have diarrhea
  • Do not swallow the water you swim in
  • Keep kids sick with diarrhea at home and away from childcare.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after coming in contact with animals or anything in their environment. Hand sanitizers do not work effectively on Crypto.
  • Remove shoes worn in the animal environments before entering your home
  • Only buy milk or apple cider that has been pasteurized.