Health officials are asking the Americans to take precautions about the reports that "crypt," a fecal parasite that can be transmitted through pools, is increasing.
The full name of the parasite is
. It causes cryptosporidiosis, which can cause healthy adults to suffer "abundant and watery diarrhea" for three weeks. The effects may be worse for children, pregnant women and those who have a compromised immune system.
"The number of treated outbreaks associated with treated water caused by cryptosporidium drives the highest seasonal summer in both cryptosporidiosis outbreaks transmitted by water and in general cryptosporidiosis outbreaks," according to a statement from the Centers of Control and Prevention of Diseases of the USA.
Although almost never fatal, a death was reported since 2009, according to the CDC. Other 287 people were hospitalized between 2009 and 2017, according to the CDC.
CDC report published on Friday
explains why health officials are alarmed:
- Between 2009 and 2017, 444 outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis were reported in 40 states and Puerto Rico.
- Outbreaks affected 7,465 people.
- Recreational water, mostly swimming pools, but also in children's pools and water parks, was responsible for 156, more than one third of the cases.
- Untreated water (such as lakes) and drinking water caused 22 more cases.
- Eighty-six cases involved contact with animals, most livestock.
- Other 57 cases were associated with the configuration of the nursery.
- Twenty-two cases were food, mostly related to unpasteurized milk or apple cider.
- Most cases were reported during the months of July and August and in 2016 it was a maximum year for shoots with more than 80 years.
- The number of cases increased an average of 12.8% per year between 2009 and 2017.
The CDC adds two warnings to the figures, which they suspect they underestimate the number of cases and actual outbreaks: the upswing in the cases may be the result of new test technologies, and the requirements and ability to detect, investigate and report cases vary depending on the jurisdictions.
It is also worth noting that death by cryptosporidiosis occurred in the only instance in which the parasite was transmitted to a hospital.
In the pools, cryptosporidium can enter the body when a swimmer swallows contaminated water.
The parasite is a problem in the pools, because an infected swimmer can excrete the parasite to several orders of magnitude greater than the amount necessary to cause the infection. Cryptosporid has a high tolerance to chlorine and can survive in a properly chlorinated pool for up to seven days, according to the CDC.
There are preventative measures that can help curb the number of outbreaks, and the CDC works to educate it on the public.
According to the CDC, young people with diarrhea should not be included in the care of children and, after an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis, day care workers should clean surfaces with hydrogen peroxide, since the bleach of Chlorine is an ineffective means of killing the parasite.
People who come into contact with cattle should wash their hands carefully and eliminate shoes or clothing to avoid contamination in other areas, such as their homes.
Regarding the swimming pools, anyone who suffers from diarrhea should avoid swimming for at least two weeks after decreasing their diarrhea, according to the CDC.
The latter is the most important, since 24% of Americans say they would jump into the pool within an hour after having diarrhea,
according to a survey published last month
by the Council for Health and Water Quality.