In Hillsborough County, FL, certain reportable infections have been seen at increased levels this year compared to the same period in 2013.

Hillsborough County, Florida Image/David Benbennick
Hillsborough County, Florida
Image/David Benbennick

According to the October 2014 EpiNotes published today, from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, 2014, the Sunshine State’s fourth largest county has seen a rise in infections caused by the enteric pathogens–Cryptosporidium, Salmonella and Campylobacter.

For the first 9 months of 2014, Hillsborough County reported 121 cases of campylobacteriosis. This compares to the 98 cases reported during the same period in 2013. The same can be said for salmonellosis where 234 cases have been recorded from Jan-Sept. 2014, compared to  201 cases in 2013.

Concerning enteric parasitic infections, Hillsborough County saw a rise in Giardia infections from 2013 vs 2014, with 37 and 47 cases respectively.

Clearly the most dramatic increase has been with infections with the protozoan parasite, cryptosporidium. From Jan. to Sept. 30, 2013, county health officials reported 29 cases; however, the same period this year has seen 257 cases.

The whole “5- county Tampa Bay area”–Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Polk recorded big increases of “crypto” over the summer. Much of the increase this year has been attributed to exposure to a recreational water facility in the greater Tampa Bay area.

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Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite that causes an infection called cryptosporidiosis affecting people and cattle. The most common symptom is watery diarrhea, which can range from mild to severe.

Although it’s most frequently seen in young children, cryptosporidium can affect anyone. People with weak immune systems are likely to be most seriously affected.

Cryptosporidium is found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with infected human or animal feces. Transmission occurs through animal-to-human or human-to-human contact. Consumingcontaminated water or food, swimming in contaminated water and children visiting petting zoos are commonways people contract the parasite.

It is typically a self-limiting illness in otherwise healthy individuals.