CDC warns of 'Crypto' parasite in swimming pools

Public pool

Public pool

The parasite's full name is cryptosporidium.

Crypto causes the disease cryptosporidiosis, which has side effects like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that can last for weeks, according to the CDC. Symptoms in children, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems can be worse.

"People can get sick after they swallow the parasite in contaminated water or food or after contact with infected people or animals", according to the CDC.

Though it's nearly never fatal, one death has been reported since 2009, according to the CDC. The CDC is warning people not to use swimming pools as communal toilets and not to go swimming within 24 hours of having diarrhea.

"Cryptosporidium is the leading cause of outbreaks of diarrhea linked to water and the third leading cause of diarrhea associated with animal contact in the United States", the federal agency writes in the report.

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The outbreaks resulted in 7,465 people falling ill.

The majority of outbreaks were connected to pools, lakes and splash pads.

You can also get crypto by drinking unpasteurized raw apple cider or milk, by touching your mouth with contaminated hands, or by not washing your hands after touching cattle other animals. Between 2009 and 2017, the cases have increased by an average 12.8 percent annually, CNN reports.

The city of Albuquerque does not specifically test for cryptosporidium at its nine outdoor and four indoor public pools, but a Parks and Recreation Department spokesman said staffers take extra measures to keep the water clean.

Protected by an outer shell, Crypto is tough to kill. According to The Washington Post, the fecal parasite Cryptosporidium, or "Crypto", has had an increased number of outbreaks in the last week. Because livestock can contribute to the spread of infection, people should also thoroughly wash their hands - with soap, not just hand sanitizer - after handling animals at zoos or county fairs. "And especially don't let them swim for up to two weeks after they've recovered from a bout of diarrhea".

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