The number of cryptosporidium cases in Lucas County, OH is up dramatically this year and health officials are finding few commonalities between the cases and have not yet located its origin, according to a Toledo Blade report Friday.
There has been 123 cases reported to date in 2017 compared to 36 during the same period last year. There were 47 cases in in all of 2016; 22 in 2015; and 17 in 2014.
Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said the increase might be in part because of a recent change in testing methods to better identify cases and/or an increased public awareness.
“Usually this comes from pools or water supplies, contaminated foods,” he said. “But it’s hard to figure out what is going on. … They’re not shopping at the same stores, they are not going to the same pools, and not living in the same areas.”
Neighboring counties have not reported similar increases.
Cryptosporidium, or “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.