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October 19, 2020 08:31pm
By Sara Karlovitch, Assistant Editor
At least 32 outbreaks caused by Cryptosporidium linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds in the United States were reported in 2016, compared with only 16 reported outbreaks in 2014.
At least 32 outbreaks caused byCryptosporidiumlinked to swimming pools or water playgrounds in the United States were reported in 2016, compared with only 16 reported outbreaks in 2014, according to preliminary data published in the CDC’sMorbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The parasite can spread when people swallow something that has come into contact with the feces of a sick person, such as pool water contaminated with diarrhea.
While the number of reports has doubled, it remains unclear whether the number of outbreaks has increased or whether better surveillance and laboratory methods are leading to better outbreak detection, CDC researchers wrote in the reports.
According to the report, in 2016, Alabama, Arizona, Ohio, and other states investigated and controlledCryptooutbreaks linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds. Those outbreaks highlight the ongoing challenges that treated recreational water venues have withCryptodue to how difficult it is to kill and the small number of germs that can make people sick. Arizona identified 352 people sick withCryptofor July—October 2016, compared with no more than 62 cases for any one year in 2011–2015. Ohio identified 1,940 people sick withCryptoin 2016, compared with no more than 571 cases for any one year in 2012—2015.
Cryptois the most common cause of diarrheal illness and outbreaks linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds because it is not easily killed by chlorine and can survive up to 10 days in properly treated water. Swallowing just a mouthful of water contaminated with Crypto can make otherwise healthy people sick for up to 3 weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting, and can lead to dehydration.
CDC officials recommend closing pools and treating the water with high levels of chlorine,when responding to a diarrheal incident in the water or an outbreak.
The best way to help protect yourself and patients from germs that cause diarrhea is to follow these steps:
The CDC's report on Cryptopsporidum started Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, which began today, May 22. CDC officials encourages swimmers to help protect themselves, family, and friends fromCryptosporidiumand other germs in the water we swim in. For more information and other healthy and safe swimming steps, visitwww.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming.