Swimmers in public pools have been advised of late by the Center for Disease Control to be cautious, as an outbreak of diarrhea has taken hold due to Cryptosporidium a parasite that lives in pool water.
The CDC report says the causes of many water illnesses are poor hygiene in the pools and the poor cleaning procedures carried out by the pool maintenance workers.
The report from the CDC included extensive data between 2011 and 2014, when 90 diarrhea outbreaks took place across the U.S.
Currently there are more than 1,788 cases that have been reported. Out of that total, 95 were admitted to a hospital and one died. Fifty percent of the cases were caused by this parasite, with the outbreak across 32 of the 50 U.S. states.
The Cryptosporidium parasite is undetectable to the human eye. It is microscopic and lurks in pools, Jacuzzis and other areas of standing water. When it is ingested by humans, the person becomes infected. The parasite can enter be drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food or putting contaminated hands into one’s mouth.
Once the parasite is in the intestine, it attaches to the wall of the intestine and sets off episodes of diarrhea. People who become infected could lose weight, as their bodies cannot absorb nutrients.
Children and the elderly are at a higher risk of the bacteria as their immune systems are usually not as strong as others. With the outbreaks, said the CDC, there are a disproportionate number of young children affected. They usually are the ones who go into the pool more often and tend to carry more germs with them.
People that have diarrhea symptoms are advised to remain out of public pools. Those people swimming in pools should remember not to ingest water and try to not allow any to enter the body through the nose.