City of Lubbock health alert - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/22/09

City of Lubbock health alert

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The City Health Department wants to remind Lubbockites of the increased threat of Crypto during the summer months.

There has been an increase in Crypto cases in Texas, and the outbreaks are often related to recreational water exposure; including rivers, lakes, pools and water parks. Outbreaks are also sometimes related to daycare settings.

The illness is caused by accidental swallowing a microscopic parasite called Cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidium may be found in soil, food, water or on surfaces that have been contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals.

Some symptoms of crypto are diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps and fever. Symptoms generally begin within 2 to 14 days (average seven days) after becoming infected with the parasite. In healthy persons, symptoms usually last about one to two weeks, and may come and go. Symptoms can last for as long as a month. Persons at risk for severe illness from Cryptosporidium include young children, pregnant women, and those with a severely weakened immune system.

See your health care practitioner if you suspect that you have Cryptosporidiosis. The infection is usually treated with an FDA-approved medication called nitazoxanide (Alinia). Although some healthy persons recover without treatment, the parasite may shed in their stool for several weeks after symptoms are gone. If you have a weakened immune system, talk with your doctor about special precautions regarding swimming, drinking water, and contact with ill persons.

Prevention measures include:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after changing diapers, going to the toilet, handling animals, and before eating or preparing food.
  • Do not swim in any recreational water for two weeks after you have had a diarrheal illness. Diapered children, if allowed in pools, should wear "swim diapers", not regular disposal or cloth diapers.
  • Exclude children with diarrhea from daycare settings until diarrhea has stopped.
  • Clean surfaces with peroxide or ammonia, which are more effective against Crypto than chlorine based disinfectants.

Follow local and state regulations for sanitizing contaminated pools, spas, and hot tubs. More information about Cryptosporidium can be found on the CDC website.

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