Published On: Tue, Sep 11th, 2012

Idaho health officials report a rise in ‘crypto’ cases in the Magic Valley

The South Central Public Health District (SCPHD) has reported an increase in the parasitic infection, cryptosporidium in the past 10 days, prompting them to urge the public to take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to a SCPHD news release, cases have been reported in Gooding, Lincoln, and Twin Falls counties, but the disease appears to be widespread in the Magic Valley.


Cryptosporidium oocysts Photo/CDC

SCPHD Epidemiology Manager, Mary Jensen notes, “Even with the end of summer approaching, people are still using area pools, lakes, and rivers. If you’ve been ill with diarrhea, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to stay out of recreational waters for at least two weeks after your symptoms resolve.”

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 infected human 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.

Because crypto can survive for days even in properly chlorinated pools, SCPHD is urging everyone to follow these seven steps to help reduce the spread of recreational water illnesses:

1. PLEASE don’t swim when you have diarrhea. This is especially important for kids in
diapers. If you have been diagnosed with crypto, please stay out of swimming pools and
recreational waters for at least two weeks after symptoms are gone.

2. PLEASE don’t swallow the pool water. In fact, avoid getting water in your mouth.

3. PLEASE practice good hygiene. Take a shower before swimming and wash your hands
after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.

4. PLEASE take your kids on regular bathroom breaks or change diapers often (use swim
diapers). Waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s too late.

5. PLEASE change diapers in a bathroom, not at the poolside. Germs can spread to surfaces
around the pool and spread illness.

6. PLEASE wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before
swimming. Everyone has invisible amounts of fecal matter on their bottoms that end up
in the pool.

7. PLEASE don’t drink untreated water from streams, lakes, ponds, etc.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63


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