The next time you decide to go swimming, you may have to think a little about the potential risks in the water. Public health officials in the United States are urging people to take precautions and protect themselves against a kind of microscopic parasite that can live many days in swimming pools and water play areas.
The parasite called Cryptosporidium (Crypto) can infect your body from pool water and cause cryptosporidiosis, characterized by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. At worst, these symptoms can last for weeks, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Although most cases do not require medical treatment, medical experts warn Crypto may pose a higher risk to special subjects such as the elderly or children. This parasite can damage the immune system, a small percentage of people suffering from malnutrition, even death.
CDC warns a parasite species in the pool, not killed by chlorine
These new warnings appear in the CDC Weekly Disease and Mortality Report. In particular, health authorities stressed that cryptosporidiosis cases are increasing at an average rate of 13% per year, according to data from 2009 to 2017.
CDC said in the last 10 years, in the US alone, there have been more than 400 outbreaks related to Crypto parasites. The result made nearly 7,500 people sick. Among them, more than 200 people were hospitalized and 1 died.
Researchers say common causes of cryptosporidiosis are swallowing water contaminated with parasites in the pool and water play areas. Up to 35% of cases come from this cause. 15% of other cases are from cattle, 13% from child care facilities such as schools.
Michele Hlavsa, head of CDC's Healthy Wading Program, said "Young children are subject to serious illness and easily spread Crypto ".
"Children do not know how to use the toilet and wash their hands, or are just learning how to practice them", she said."But we, parents, can take full steps to keep our children healthy when playing in the water, interacting with animals or while caring for children. "
Cryptosporidium parasite (Crypto)
Cryptosporidium parasites live in the intestines of infected people and animals, which can then be released into the environment through waste, according to CDC.
Community health experts warn, even a tiny trace of parasite-containing feces on hands or swimwear can contaminate food, drinks or pool water – causing the risk of infection. for others.
Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis usually begin within 2 to 10 days after being infected with the parasite, according to the CDC. In addition to diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, other symptoms may include fever, stomach pain, dehydration and weight loss.
Dr. Bobbi Pritt, director of Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory Services at the Mayo Clinic, said parasites can infect humans in swimming pools, and it can survive even if water is treated by chlorine and some other chemicals.
She recommends that people with diarrhea not go swimming, and other swimmers should avoid swallowing as much as possible. In addition, animals are also a vector of transmission. So, you should wash your hands well after contact with them.
Other precautions include isolating diarrhea children from water play areas and kindergartens; wash your hands with soap, note that washing your hands dry with disinfectant water like alcohol does not prevent disease; Don't wear shoes from the pet care area into the house.