Parasites linked to swimming pools, water parks, CDC says

by: Blaine Tolison Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Cryptosporidium, or crypto, is a parasite that has been linked to pools and water parks.

“If someone has a diarrhea incident in the water, and someone else comes around and swallows that contaminated water, it spreads," said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Swimming Program.

CDC INFO: Cryptosporidium

She said when a person swallows contaminated water, they could have diarrhea that lasts up to three weeks, and since it’s mostly young people who swallow pool water, parents need to teach their children about water safety.

The number of crypto cases linked to swimming have doubled since 2014, officials said

Randy Sellers at SwimMAC Carolina in Charlotte said a full-time pool technician checks pool chemicals daily, but when it comes to crypto, he said communication from parents is key.

“If your child does have an accident in the pool and it's a public pool, or a private pool, let somebody know so the proper steps can be made to make the pool safe again," Sellers said.

In North Carolina, from 2011 to 2012, cases of crypto actually fell from 115 to 89, and in South Carolina, cases also dropped from 132 to 72 cases.

The ages most commonly associated with crypto are children one to four-years-old.

The CDC isn't sure if there are actually more cases of crypto, or if modern science is detecting more outbreaks.

Officials still want parents to be cautious.

The best way to help protect yourself and others from germs that cause diarrhea is to follow these steps:

  • Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea.
  • If diarrhea is caused by Crypto, wait until two weeks after diarrhea has stopped to go swimming.
  • Don’t swallow the water where you swim.
  • Rinse off in the shower before getting in the water to help remove any germs on your body that could contaminate the water.
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks often, and check diapers in a diaper-changing area and not next to the pool.

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