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A diarrhea-causing parasite has been found in a growing number of pools, according to new information the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released.
Crypto, officially known as cryptosporidium, was linked to at least 32 outbreaks at pools and water parks in 2016. The CDC had 16 reported outbreaks in 2014, 13 in 2013 and 16 in 2012.
Controlling the outbreak is a problem because chlorine does not easily kill crypto, and the parasite can be active for up to 10 days in properly treated water.
Certain groups — including people with a weakened immune system, pregnant women and young children — are more likely to become ill if they come in contact with the parasite.
You can contract the parasite simply by swallowing pool water that has been contaminated with feces from a sick person. The illness could last for up to three weeks, causing you to have diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.
The CDC offered the following recommendations to help prevent an outbreak:
- Rinse off in a shower before getting into the water. This helps to remove germs on your body.
- Don’t swim, or let your children or grandchildren swim, if they are sick with diarrhea.
- Don’t swallow pool water.
- If a diarrheal contamination in a pool is detected, close the pool and treat with the highest level of chlorine (hyperchlorination).
- If you contract crypto, wait two weeks after symptoms are gone before going back into a pool.
- Take your child or grandchild on bathroom breaks often.
- Check diapers away from the pool area, not in or next to a pool.
The CDC said it’s unclear if better surveillance and testing methods contributed to the increases in cases reported.
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