Pinellas County health officials are advising the public to take caution in swimming pools and water playgrounds because of the risk of Cryptosporidium, aka “Crypto”.
In 2014, DOH-Pinellas witnessed more than 200 reported cases of Crypto in Pinellas County. As of mid-June this year, 27 cases have been reported.
Cryptosporidiosis, a parasitic infection that can be linked to swimming pools and water playgrounds, is often spread when people come into contact with hands, objects, or water contaminated with diarrhea, including chlorinated swimming pools. Crypto can be spread throughout households and in child care facilities where there’s poor hygiene after changing diapers.
Crypto can cause a person to be sick for up to three weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, a slight fever, and in some cases, dehydration.
Residents and visitors are advised to practice proper hand hygiene and avoid swimming pools, water playgrounds and water parks when ill with diarrhea. Those who are sick with a diarrheal illness should wait at least two weeks after they have recovered before visiting a public area where they will be exposed to recreational water.
Parents and caregivers should also follow these steps to avoid Crypto:
• Take children on frequent bathroom breaks and check diapers often.
• Change diapers in a bathroom and not at the poolside as germs can spread to surfaces or objects in and around the pool and spread illness.
• Shower before entering the water.
• Wash your hands with soap and water after changing a child’s diaper.