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Cryptosporidium Outbreak Continues to Grow in Central Ohio

SEP 02, 2016 | JENINA PELLEGREN
Ohio public health officials are working with pools, schools, and childcare facilities to prevent new infections after a Cryptosporidium (Crypto) outbreak continues to grow in Columbus, Franklin, and Delaware counties. The outbreak is not tied to any single location and affected individuals have had multiple exposures at various local recreational water facilities.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Crypto is a parasite that causes diarrhea and is found in the fecal matter of infected persons. An individual can become infected by swallowing water that has been contaminated. Symptoms include watery diarrhea with abdominal pain, nausea, fever, and vomiting. Infected persons can continue to spread the disease even several weeks after diarrhea subsides. Officials recommend that those individuals who are affected should avoid any recreational activities in public waters for at least two weeks after diarrhea has stopped.
 
Additionally, the CDC recommends the following safety measures for schools and childcare facilities:
  • Keep children with diarrhea out of a childcare setting or school until diarrhea has stopped
  • Keep kids diagnosed with Crypto out of water-play and swimming activities for at least 2 weeks after diarrhea has stopped
  • Practice good hygiene, especially handwashing with soap and water – scrub for at least 20 seconds–Crypto is NOT killed by alcohol gels or sanitizers
  • Have kids wash hands when they arrive, after using the toilet, after changing diapers, and before eating all snacks and meals
  • Keep facilities clean by disinfecting bathrooms, tabletops, desks, diaper-changing areas, toys, food surfaces, including high chairs, everyday
To reduce the spread of Cryptosporidium when visiting public pools, waterparks, or fountains, avoid swallowing water while swimming, change diapers in designated areas not near the water, and wash hands with soap and water thoroughly after using the bathroom.
 
Officials believe the outbreak will get worse before it gets better, but are hoping that cases decrease once the pool season is over. Many pools in the area have closed in order to hyper-chlorinate their water as a precaution.
 
Those individuals looking for more information on the Ohio outbreak should visit the Columbus Public Health, Delaware General Health District, Franklin County Public Health websites for more information.
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