SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Cryptosporidium is the leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s a microscopic parasite that’s found in human’s fecal matter. It causes the disease Cryptosporidiosis, but both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as “Crypto.”
Before you hop in the pool on these hot days, you should be aware, Crypto is hard to kill and easy to spread.
“They’re around other kids constantly, so there’s always a chance that they’re gonna get sick," said Amber Wagner, who brings her kids to the public fountain often. "Anything I can do to help mitigate them getting any kind of illness that includes vomiting or diarrhea or anything, I really want to avoid that.”
Wagner watched her children carefully to make sure they weren’t drinking the pool or fountain water and said she always gives them a shower immediately after they’re done swimming.
The Florida Health Department said that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do to protect your kids from Crypto.
“We have more traffic in the pools and more traffic in the summertime outside and water gives it the opportunity to infect other people," explained Rob Cosgrove, epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health’s Sarasota office.
It’s a bacteria that causes diarrhea and it’s easily spread in a pool or fountain if another person drinks the water that has the fecal matter infected by Crypto. Crypto can also stay alive for days because chlorine doesn’t kill it.
“It does have that harder outer membrane and that’s what makes it so tough to kill and get rid of,” said Cosgrove.
If your child has diarrhea, the Health Department urges you to keep them out of the water. They also recommend you shower before getting into any pool to prevent the spread of bacteria like Crypto and for children still in diapers, parents are asked to change them often.
Last but not least, make sure you teach your kids not to swallow the water while swimming.
The Florida Department of Health said there’s only been two reported cases of Crypto in Sarasota County in the last six months. But it’s not just the children who are susceptible. The CDC said this is why all the water you drink should be filtered and any fruit or vegetable you eat, thoroughly washed.
Anytime you touch public surfaces that could be contaminated with fecal matter infected with Crypto, make sure you wash your hands.
For more information about Crypto from the CDC, click here.