Health officials said proper pool inspections and the vigilance of swimmers are the best ways to avoid being sickened by a waterborne parasite and bacteria that can cause intestinal problems, skin rashes and respiratory infections.
The crypto parasite, spread by a person with diarrhea who swims in a pool, was responsible for nearly 60 percent of the outbreaks, the CDC reported. Symptoms of crypto can include severe intestinal distress, dehydration and fever.
“It’s incredibly contagious, and you only need a few particles of the disease to make you sick,” said Jessica Rigler, who oversees public health preparedness at the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Experts say crypto is the biggest culprit in waterborne illnesses because it’s particularly resilient and difficult to detect.
“The parasite’s extreme chlorine tolerance enables it to persist in water, cause outbreaks that sicken thousands, and spread to multiple recreational water venues and other settings,” including child-care centers, the CDC report says.
Rigler said a crypto parasite might be absent in one area of a pool but lurk in another.
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