CDC Warns Americans Of Fecal Parasite That Can Live In Pools

Beware of what's lurking in the pool

Beware of what's lurking in the pool

Outbreaks, the CDC explained, are most common in the summer-when sick kids are clamoring around water parks and overheated adults are taking a dip in the community pool.

"Crypto" - or cryptosporidium - is a parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis, which can cause continual diarrhea for up to three weeks, according to the CDC. Hundreds of outbreaks resulted in over 7,400 confirmed cases, tied predominantly to public swimming pools and water playgrounds.

Untreated water (such as lakes) and drinking water caused 22 more cases. Children sick with diarrhea should stay at home and away from child care facilities.

Another reason, beyond showing you've advanced past potty training, that you don't use the pool as a toilet: cryptosporidium, the dung-carried, diarrhea-bringing parasite that the CDC says has been steadily rising in the United States since 2009.

3% were linked to raw milk. This time last year, the health department reported eight cases, "but the number for this year is within what could be expected".

The nasty parasite spreads through the feces of infected humans or animals into water and food, putting pool visitors, burger lovers, and childcare users at the greatest risk.

Also, the CDC says Crypto's outer shell means "it can survive for days in chlorinated water in pools and water playgrounds or on surfaces disinfected with chlorine bleach. And especially don't let them swim for up to two weeks after they've recovered from a bout of diarrhea". Because livestock can contribute to the spread of infection, people should also thoroughly wash their hands - with soap, not just hand sanitizer - after handling animals at zoos or county fairs.

Almost 20 cases of cryptosporidium parasite have been confirmed in Marion County pools by the Marion County Health Department.

For the record, I'm not sharing this information to scare you right out of swimming in a pool ever again, but best practice should definitely be CLOSE YOUR MOUTH COMPLETELY while you do it.

Written by Eliott C. McLaughlin for CNN.

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