CDC warns of dangerous pool parasite on the rise; how you can stay safe

CDC warns of dangerous pool parasite on the rise; how you can stay safe

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As many gear up to splash around the pool, the Centers for Disease Control released a new warning about a harmful parasite found in the water that is on the rise.

“It’s a water born parasite that can cause illness if it’s ingested or inhaled,” Chrissy Fandel said.

It’s called Cryptosporidium or Crypto for short. The parasite can leave healthy adults suffering from diarrhea for as long as three weeks.

Chrissy Fandel is the Aquatics Director with the Richmond YMCA and says it’s nothing to take lightly.

“Generally, it comes from fecal matter from an infected person or animal. In pools it can be passed along because it’s a parasite that has a shell of a body. Even though you have chlorine in your pool, it can last up to five days and still be something people can become exposed to,” Fandell said.

CDC experts say the number of cases increased about 12 percent each year from 2009 to 2017.

Before you take that big dip, experts say to splash on some soap and water.

“You need to take a soap shower and wash your bottom area. Make sure you aren’t bringing in any fecal matter into the pool,” Fandel said.

Lifeguards and staff should routinely take samples of the water.

“This is our daily pool chemical log book. Every day we take chemical checks and record what they are in the book,” Fandel said.

There are three different chemicals used, one for the pH of the water and two to test the chlorine.

Experts warn if you or your children suffer from diarrhea, avoid swimming for two weeks.

“It’s everyone’s job to keep a pool safe,” Fandel said.

According to a study, almost a quarter of American’s say they’d jump in a pool within an hour of having diarrhea, which experts say is a big no.

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