Health officials in Dubuque are trying to quell an outbreak of waterborne illness. Public health specialist, Mary Rose Corrigan, says there have been 20 cases this month of Cryptosporidiosis, otherwise know as Crypto. She says almost all the cases are children 14 years old or younger. Corrigan says they’ve gotten exposed through the river, swimming pools and well water, several family members have contracted it also.
Corrigan says the disease is contracted through contact with a source that contains the parasite. The Cryptosporidium is in human or animal waste and it gets into your intestinal tract through water or food and causes severe diarrhea, cramps and sometimes fever. She says it is passed most often through hand to mouth contact or the swallowing of contaminated water.
Corrigan says they believe there are so many kids involved because they tend to put their hands in their mouths more and drink water while swimming. She says it doesn’t take a lot of the germ to make you sick, and it can be passed fairly easily. Infants and older adults are at the highest risk for more serious symptoms, but she says nothing major has turned up.
Corrigan says they haven’t had any really serious outcomes from the illness. She says there’s no medication for it, so it has to run its course, and that takes seven to ten days. Corrigan says the effort now is trying to prevent more cases.
Corrigan says they’re educating people to not go swimming if they have diarrhea, and she says it’s best to shower before and after swimming, and to not swallow pool or river water. Cryptosporidium is not killed by chlorine, so you can contract it from filtered pools. For more information on healthy swimming, visit: www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming