With the large cryptosporidium outbreak this year in the Central Ohio counties of Columbus, Franklin and Delaware, which accounted for more than 1,000 cases and more than any other individual state in 2016, the Buckeye state was by far the most heavily hit state in the nation.

Image/Columbus Public Health
Image/Columbus Public Health

According to provisional Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data through Dec. 24, Ohio saw 1,921 “crypto” cases, nearly 17 percent of the national total of 11,766, or one out of six cases.

In all of 2015, Ohio reported 423 cases of the protozoan parasitic infection.

When the Columbus area outbreak was declared in August, health officials reported a large portion of the cases included people with multiple exposures at various recreational water facilities throughout the three counties.

Crypto is a parasite that causes diarrhea.  It is found in the fecal matter of a person who has been infected by crypto.  It is spread by swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter containing crypto.   It can also be spread from human-to-human contact.

Symptoms include watery diarrhea with abdominal pain and cramping, which can be accompanied by dehydration, weight loss, fever, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms can last for two weeks, with improvement often followed by recurrence. Infected persons can continue to spread the disease for several weeks after diarrhea subsides, so they should avoid activities involving recreational waters for at least two weeks after diarrhea subsides and practice diligent handwashing.