Ohio authorities have confirmed 107 cases of Cryptosporidiosis, a parasite-induced diarrheal disease in Columbus and two counties since the beginning of the year. Public health officials said that this is worse than the last three years combined.
The diarrhea-causing parasite, Cryptosporidium, lives in human fecal matter and it is usually spread in swimming pools by people who either defecate there or fail to take the proper precautionary measures to prevent transmission.
Health commissioner Mysheika Roberts from the Columbus Public Health acknowledged that the parasite is quite widespread in the city at the moment. Roberts added that this is because people have been enjoying themselves in water parks and public swimming pools as it has been a very hot summer.
Authorities said that some of the patients were exposed to the parasite at various entertainment venues across the three jurisdictions, so the outbreak cannot be traced back to just one site. Roberts explained that several patients visited multiple water parks or pools in the incubating period, so it is hard to say which venue caused their infection.
According to CDC, the incubation period for Cryptosporidiosis is between two and 10 days. You may have the infection if your diarrhea is watery, but the disease includes other signs such as fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
Officials said that in the most common case, you can get the parasite from hands to mouth. For example, someone with Cryptosporidiosis failed to wash their hands and touches a surface you also come in contact with. If you fail to wash your hands too and eat something, you get the parasite in your system.
In swimming pools transmission happens through water when people swallow contaminated water or get out of the pool and rush to eat something.
Public health experts have some pieces of advice to prevent further transmission:
- If you noticed you have diarrhea, stay out of water for a couple of weeks after your last symptom.
- Refrain from defecating in the water
- Take a shower before and after entering a swimming pool
- Remember to wash hands
- Don’t let kids poop or pee in the water; take them to the bathroom regularly
- While in a pool, keep your mouth shut so you do not swallow water.
The infection poses a risk only to people with compromised immune systems. Healthy individuals can recover without medication. Experts recommend drinking a lot of liquids to stave off dehydration.
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