PHOENIX — Maricopa County Health officials said that more than 100 people have been sickened by a disease that may have been spread at as many as 20 recreational water facilities in the Phoenix area.
Earlier this month, officials were investigating 19 cases of illness caused by Cryptosporidium parvum, a bacteria that causes diarrhea. That number has since ballooned.
The Centers for Disease Control describes the parasite as “a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as ‘crypto.’”
The CDC said that the parasite can be spread in several different ways, but drinking and recreational water are the most common ways.
There are several symptoms for the disease.
“It’s typical low-grade fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea,” Dr. John McGreevy with Phoenix Children’s Hospital said, adding that symptoms can last as long as two weeks.
Should a child display those symptoms, parents will need to take precautions.
“Avoid taking your child to the pool if you’ve had vomiting or diarrhea symptoms,” he said. “In fact, you should really wait for at least two weeks after the diarrhea stops before returning to water activities.”
Once you do go back to the pool, McGreevy said that you should protect yourself and your kids.
“Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands,” he said. “This really has to be with soap and water. Alcohol-based sanitizers are not effective in getting rid of crypto.”
McGreevy said that if you or your children have any of the symptoms of crypto, you should call your doctor or pediatrician.
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