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Summertime Parasite Outbreaks On The Rise

Christina Rutz
Flickr / CC-by 2.0

Public health officials are warning pool-goers about an uptick in infection from a water-based parasite.

Cryptosporidium — a parasite spread through infected stool of people and animals — causes diarrhea when swallowed. It’s the leading cause of disease outbreak in pools and water playgrounds.

Chillicothe Park District Executive Director Kevin Yates said there’s limited ways to protect water from infection.

“Even if the pool water or the waters that you’re in are properly chemically treated, the parasite can live for a while — up to two weeks,” he said.

Yates said there’s no real test for “crypto” that can be done on a daily basis.

“The way we kind of combat it — especially in our activity pool — we do drain the water all the way out regularly and then start with fresh water,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “crypto” outbreaks rose by an average 13 percent each year from 2009 to 2017.

The CDC recommends people avoid swimming if experiencing diarrhea and trying not to swallow pool water.

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Dana Vollmer is a reporter with WGLT. Dana previously covered the state Capitol for NPR Illinois and Peoria for WCBU.