An illness that’s often seen during the summer months is turning up this fall. Department of Public Health Medical Director Patricia Quinlisk says they’re seeing cases of cryptosporidiosis or “crypto” — which is usually connected to contaminated water in swimming pools. “This time of year when the swimming pools are closed we look for other things. And we know that at least some of these are being caused by people drinking unpasteurized apple juice or apple cider,” Quinlisk says.
The summer version of the disease is caused by people with diarrhea in the pool or young children with dirty diapers in a pool. Quinlisk says the cider problem is likely linked to the way people are collecting apples. “What happens is that people before they make apple juice or apple cider, they’ll go out to an orchard. They’ll pick apples off the tree, but they’ll also pick good ones off the ground,” Quinlisk explains.
The apples that come off the ground lead to the contamination. “That’s where deer, and cows, and all other animals like that drop their feces. And this organism is found in the feces of those animals,” according to Quinlisk. Quinlisk says crypto causes prolonged severe diarrhea. The Iowa City area in Johnson County has had 11 cases — but there are cases reported across the state.