Florida Health Department Issues Health Alert for Cryptosporidium
Florida issued a health alert this week after 58 cases of Cryptosporidium were reported in Pinellas County. Since half of the cases have been associated with public pools and water parks in Pinellas, all related facilities were notified on Thursday. In addition, Northwest Pool has been shut down as a precaution after a child, who may have visited there, was diagnosed with the illness.
Cryptosporidium is an intestinal parasite that has a fecal-oral transmission route. It is found in water, food, soil, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces from an infected person or animal. Millions of these parasites can be released in a bowel movement from an infected human. It is spread by hands contaminated after changing a diaper or using the toilet. From contaminated hands, the parasites can then be transferred to food, surfaces, and toys. Infection occurs when putting something in your mouth or swallowing something that has come into contact with feces contaminated with Cryptosporidium. Symptoms may include severe, watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, dehydration, nausea, vomiting and fever for 72 hours or more. Some individuals infected by Cryptosporidium may show no signs of illness at all. It is most commonly found in children who are still wearing diapers.
“Cryptosporidium outbreaks have been identified with public drinking water supplies, aquatic parks, swimming pools and lakes, and the consumption of contaminated food and beverages,” stated Diane Miskowski, MPH, Business Development Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “In addition to children who are still in diapers, animal handlers, people engaging in anal intercourse, health care and day care workers are also prone to infection.”
Some tips for safe swimming include:
• Shower before and after entering the water to decrease the amount of skin bacteria as well as bacteria present after a bowel movement
• Do not swim while having diarrhea
• Babies should wear special swimming diapers that will lessen fecal contamination of water
• Diapers should be changed frequently and in the restroom, not pool side
• Try not to swallow water and keep the water out of your mouth
EMSL offers testing for Cryptosporidium, waterborne pathogens and rapid testing for fecal contamination using PCR. To learn more, please visit www.AquaticMicrobiologyLab.com or www.EMSL.com, email info@EMSL.com or call (800) 220-3675. For service questions, please contact Diane Miskowski for expert information at 1-800-220-3675 extension 2528.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
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- EMSL Analytical, Inc.
- (1) (856) 303-2503
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