CDC warns of parasite spread in public pools


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning about a parasite found in pools across the United States.

Cryptosporidium is one of the leading causes of water-borne illness.

According to the Marion County Health Department, Central Indiana has not had any cases this summer.

But this time of year cases tend to spike and we need to be careful when we go swimming.

The warnings are in plain sight at public pools.

Rules we might think are just for hygiene might serve a very important role in preventing the spread of disease.

“Even a very well run pool can still be at risk at no fault of the operator,” Pool, Septic and Wells Program supervisor for the Marion Co. Health Department Jason Ravenscroft said.

At risk is a parasite called Cryptosporidium, which can cause two to three weeks of diarrhea.

Once a person brings the germ into a pool it can live in the water up to 10 days.

“And be transmittable to people to catch that illness throughout that time,” Ravenscroft said.

Indianapolis has not had any reported cases this year.

Ravenscroft said keeping it that way will take cooperation from pools and swimmers.

“Crypto is a particularly difficult organism because it’s very resistant to the disinfectants that we use in pools, so even an adequately maintained pool can still be at risk of spreading crypto,” he said.

Places like Indy Parks pools do their part by maintaining chemical levels and get regularly tested by the health department.

And its patrons need to be vigilant in keeping the germs out of the water.

“The best way to keep it out of the pool is for people to not swim when they’re sick or a week or two after they’ve had diarrhea,” he said.

Ravenscroft said parents need to abide by the posted rules.

He said they need to take kids on bathroom breaks often, frequently change children’s diapers and wash their hands.

“Have the patrons using the pool use good hygiene practices and not getting into the pool when they’re sick, keeping it out of the pool in the first place,” Ravenscroft said.

According to the CDC, other public areas with water are also at risk for being contaminated by Crypto.

That includes fountains, hot tubs and ponds.

It recommends following the rules when you’re in those places as well.

Click here for more information from the CDC.

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