Officials with the Iowa Dept. of Public Health report the agency has received an increase in the number of cases of Cryptosporidiosis, or ‘Crypto.’ Of the 358 cases of Crypto reported to IDPH so far this year, 272 cases have occurred since June 1st. An additional 138 cases are currently under investigation. Cases have been reported in nearly half of Iowa’s 99 counties. In 2012, a total of 328 Crypto cases were reported for the entire year.
In western Iowa, the following counties reported cases of “Crytpo occuring from June 1st through August 7th: Adair (3), Guthrie (1), Madison (2), Monona (1), Pottawattamie (2), Sac (2), Woodbury (3).
Crypto is a disease caused by a parasite that results in watery diarrhea, sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and low grade fever. Crypto can cause disease in both humans and animals. People get Crypto by coming in contact with persons or animals shedding the parasite, or by drinking water contaminated with the parasite.
Many of the people who have become ill with Crypto reported swimming in pools, and some in lakes or rivers. IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says “The most effective way to keep swimming waters healthy is by keeping unhealthy people out of them.” Quinlisk adds, “If you or your child is or has recently been sick with diarrhea, don’t go swimming.”
A small number of people also reported being around animals. To protect against illness, be sure to wash hands after any contact with animals or their living areas, and after handling animal waste.
To keep swimming safe, remember:
- Protect others by not swimming if you are experiencing diarrhea (this is essential for children in diapers). If diagnosed with Crypto, do not swim for at least two weeks after diarrhea stops.
- Do not swallow water in your mouth.
- Thoroughly wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
- Shower yourself and your child before swimming.
- Change diapers in a bathroom, not at the poolside.
- Take your kids on bathroom breaks and check swim diapers often.
It is also important to:
- Wash hands before preparing or eating food; after using the toilet; after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet; and before and after caring for someone who is ill with diarrhea.
- To reduce the risk of disease transmission, children with diarrhea should be excluded from child care settings until the diarrhea has stopped.
For more information on Crypto, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/IDPHChannelsService/file.ashx?file=66C275B0-3645-435E-AE6E-BBC18EE585AF.