PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A report released last week by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has sparked concerns about a type of parasite that can lurk in swimming pools.
The parasite is called cryptosporidium—’crypto’ for short—and is spread by fecal matter, urine and sweat, often originating from young children.
According to the CDC, more than 4,200 people nationwide were sickened by crypto from recreational water between 2009 and 2017, and the number of reported outbreaks increased an average of 13 percent annually during that time.
The CDC says crypto can survive for days in properly chlorinated pools. If ingested, it can cause prolonged diarrhea (1-2 weeks) and can make anyone sick, though young children, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are the most susceptible, according to the CDC.
Joseph Wendelken, a spokesperson for the R.I. Department of Health, says taking preventative measures such as showering and thoroughly washing your hands before entering a pool is crucial, along with not swallowing pool water.
Wendelken also said it’s important for parents to check and make sure their children aren’t contaminating the water with a dirty diaper.
Lastly, stay out of public and private pools if you’re sick, have diarrhea, or are just getting over an illness.