The Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) is investigating a community-wide cryptosporidium outbreak that has affected more than 100 people.
Crypto is a parasite that causes a diarrheal illness that is highly contagious and typically spread through bodies of water, including pools. It was first reported on August 4 at a water facility in Maricopa County.
Public health officials say those infected visited more than 20 recreational water facilities, where they may have contracted or spread the parasite. MCDPH have not released the locations of the affected facilities, but said it was notifying those at risk.
Previously, several Valley families told ABC15 they contracted the illness after a visit to Wet 'n' Wild. The north Phoenix water park says it has been conducting a weekly hyper chlorination protocol and is in compliance with all local and federal guidelines for decontamination.
MCDPH recommends any facility that may have been in contact with the crypto virus be treated in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for decontamination.
“Unfortunately, there is no reliable test for Crypto in water, so there is no way to know which pools are contaminated with this parasite,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for MCDPH, in a news release. Dr. Suneshine also stressed the importance to not swallow water while swimming and to wash your hands with soap and water after exiting the water.
The most common symptom of Crypto is water diarrhea, but other symptoms can include stomach cramps or pain, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever and weight loss. Symptoms usually last two to ten days after infection.
Public health officials recommend any infected individuals follow the below guidelines to avoid spreading the disease to others:
Do not swim or play in recreational water (pools, hot tubs, splash pads, lakes, rivers, etc.) if you have diarrhea and for at least 2 weeks after the diarrhea stops.
Wash hands with soap and water thoroughly before preparing food and after toileting or diapering. Alcohol based hand sanitizer is not effective against Crypto.
Avoid food preparation while symptoms last.
Children with diarrhea should be excluded from child care settings until the diarrhea has stopped.
Stay with ABC15 for updates.
For more information on the outbreak visit Maricopa County Department of Public Health.