An American Red Cross survey reveals that 44% of Americans don’t know basic water-safety skills, including proper precautions to take in order to keep the pool clean, which is causing a nasty issue.
A parasite is swimming around numerous pools in the Phoenix area, infecting swimmers with diarrhea and other gastrointestinal illnesses. The microscopic parasite, cryptosporidium, was first reported on August 4 in pools throughout Maricopa County.
According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, more than 100 people have been sickened at about 20 pools across the county. The parasite in question, called Crypto, spreads in swimming pools when an infected person contaminates the water with fecal matter. The parasite can survive for long periods of time, even in chlorinated water.
As of right now, there is no way to test for the parasite, and health officials only learn the pool is infected once someone reports an illness.
Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for Maricopa County Department of Public Health warned Phoenix residents about the proper precautions they could take in a statement. As reported on CNN, she said “Right now, this outbreak is community-wide and there is an increased risk to those swimming at recreational water facilities. The most important thing the public can do to prevent spread of this disease is to stay out of the water if you have diarrhea, until at least two weeks after symptoms resolve.”
Additionally, residents are encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water every time they leave the pool.
The symptoms that follow after ingesting Crypto differ from one infected patient to another. Those with healthy immune systems may not have any symptoms, while others may experience diarrhea lasting up to 10 days. Medical intervention is not always necessary in most cases.
Crypto is not only a problem in Arizona. A recent CDC report shows that this parasite was associated with 54% of the 69 outbreaks of illnesses at pools and water parks nationwide between 2011 and 2012.