A recent parasitic outbreak in San Joaquin County has local health officials advising its community to recommended steps to prevent its further spread.
Since early July San Joaquin County Public Health officials have seen as many as 58 cases of people coming into contact with Cryptosporidiosis, also known as Crypto, a diarrheal disease caused by a microscopic parasite.
Of the 58 cases, 17 people have been confirmed for the contagious infection, public health officials said.
In the past five years, the county averaged only one case per year, officials noted.
The outbreak is consistent with regions throughout the United States also experiencing increases in Crypto cases. In fact, there were twice as many reports of outbreaks in 2016 as in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The common link appears to be swimming pools and water playgrounds.
Most cases reported in San Joaquin County were infected by swallowing contaminated recreational water from different sources, such as pools, splash pads, lakes and the Delta, public health officials said. Some cases are also coming from exposure to others who are already infected or from items that are contaminated from those who are infected.
Changing a diaper can cause the infection or when a person sick with Crypto fails to wash their hands after using the bathroom or when they’re preparing food, for instance, according to public health.
Symptoms tend to manifest within two to 10 days after becoming infected with the parasite and usually last one to four weeks in people with healthy immune systems. Symptoms can come and go for as many as 30 days, though.
People in poor health or with weakened immune systems, who are pregnant, or are young are at higher risk for more severe and prolonged illness or dehydration, according to public health officials.
Public health officials have release a list of preventative measures:
- Don’t swim or let kids swim or play in recreational water facilities such as water parks if sick with diarrhea. Wait until two weeks after diarrhea has stopped to go swimming.
- Don’t swallow the water in which you swim or play.
- Rinse off in the shower before getting in the water to help remove any germs on your body that could contaminate the water.
- Take kids on bathroom breaks often and check diapers in a diaper-changing area that is not right next to the pool.