Iowa investigates cryptosporidium outbreak, reporting 272 cases since June 1
As the Cyclospora outbreak in the Hawkeye State appears to be winding down, health officials are now facing an outbreak from another protozoan parasite called Cryptosporidium.
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received reports of 358 cases of “Crypto” so far this year, with 272 cases having occurred since June 1.
In addition, health officials say an additional 138 cases are currently under investigation.
Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite (a tiny organism) that causes an infection called cryptosporidiosis affecting people and cattle.
The most common symptom is watery diarrhea, which can range from mild to severe.
Although it’s most frequently seen in young children, cryptosporidium can affect anyone. People with weak immune systems are likely to be most seriously affected.
Cryptosporidium is found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with infectedhuman or animal feces. Transmission occurs through animal-to-human or human-to-human contact. Consuming contaminated water or food, swimming in contaminated water and children visiting petting zoos are common ways people contract the parasite.
It is typically a self-limiting illness in otherwise healthy individuals.
Many of the people who have become ill with Crypto reported swimming in pools, and some in lakes or rivers. “The most effective way to keep swimming waters healthy is by keeping unhealthy people out of them,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “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.
As of Aug. 7, cryptosporidium cases have been reported from the following counties: Adair (3), Benton (5), Black Hawk (3), Boone (4), Bremer (1), Buchanan (2), Cerro Gordo (1), Clarke (1), Clayton (1), Dallas (6), Decatur (1), Delaware (14), Des Moines (2), Dubuque (11), Floyd (1), Guthrie (1), Hancock (1), Howard (1), Humboldt (14), Jackson (3), Jasper (3), Johnson (3), Jones (2), Lee (1), Linn (16), Madison (2), Marion(1), Marshall (1), Mitchell (1), Monona (1), Monroe (1), Palo Alto (1), Polk (106), Pottawattamie (2), Sac (2), Scott (2), Sioux (4), Story (5), Van Buren (5), Wapello (2), Warren (12), Washington (1), Wayne (1), Webster (17), Woodbury (3), Worth (1).
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