SALT LAKE CITY — As the summer months heat up, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning against “Crypto,” a fecal parasite that can be transmitted through swimming pools.
“Crypto” — or cryptosporidium — is a parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis, which can cause continual diarrhea for up to three weeks, according to the CDC.
Who’s at risk: These issues can be even worse among children, pregnant women and those who have bad immune systems.
- “Young children can get seriously sick and easily spread Crypto. 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,” Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC’s healthy swimming program, said in a statement.
How it spreads: The parasite spreads through infected poop from humans and animals, according to the CDC.
- “People can get sick after they swallow the parasite in contaminated water or food or after contact with infected people or animals,” according to the CDC.
By the numbers: The CDC said there’s been a 13% increase of Crypto outbreaks from 2009 to 2017.
- 35% of cases were linked to water playgrounds and pools.
- 15% were linked to cattle.
- 13% were linked to infected people in child care locations.
- 3% were linked to raw milk.
"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," according to a statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN reports.
There has been one reported death from Crypto, which happened back in 2009, according to CNN. Meanwhile, 287 people were hospitalized from 2009 to 2017.
Why pools?: The reason the parasite is particularly a problem in pools is because “an infected swimmer can excrete the parasite at several orders of magnitude higher than the amount necessary to cause infection,” according to CNN.
Additionally, Crypto can "survive for days in chlorinated water in pools and water playgrounds or on surfaces disinfected with chlorine bleach," the CDC warns.