CDC warns of fecal parasite that can survive in pools for days

Columbia Parks & Rec. describes cleaning process

CDC warns of fecal parasite that can survive in pools for days

COLUMBIA, Mo. - As summer sets in, health officials ask swimmers and poolgoers to be wary of cryptosporidiosis, or crypto, which is a fecal parasite that can be transmitted via swimming pools.

While rarely lethal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say it can lead to watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, fever and more. Children, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system could experience more extreme symptoms.

"The risk of developing severe disease may differ depending on each person’s degree of immune suppression," according to the CDC website.

One can contract the disease by swallowing fecal matter of someone infected with crypto. According to the CDC, recreational water, like swimming pools, can become infected by the stool of someone who's contracted crypto.

High temperatures in Columbia have inspired hundreds to visit city pools daily, according to Columbia Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs. He said no one has defecated in a city pool this season, and that it's not a regular occurrence. 

"It has happened maybe a couple times in the last five years," Griggs said. "It’s rare that it happens. Most people are good about making sure they have the right swim diapers for their kids."

Of the six pools operated by the city, two are indoors. Griggs said the city uses a two-prong cleaning system that includes chlorine and ultraviolet rays.

"We treat it with chemical. Then as it goes back to the pool, it passes these ultraviolet tubes where it’s bombarded with the ultraviolet rays, which does that last bit of cleaning," Griggs said.

For more information from the CDC, click here.

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