Valley pools at risk of nasty bug called 'Crypto'

Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-25 00:13:22-04

It's a little known stomach bug that can cause big problems and get people sick in a hurry, especially during pool season.

State health officials say, Cryptosporidium, commonly known as "Crypto" is something to be mindful of before getting into a pool.

The parasite can live for several days, even in treated, chlorinated pool water. In Arizona, it's sickened 24 people so far this year, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Don Duby says his 10-year-old d daughter loves to rollerblade, but she really feels at home in the pool.

"We were at the water park the other day in Mesa, the slides and such, and we enjoyed it. But I always wondered in the kiddy pools what kind of bacteria might be floating around," said Duby.

State health officials say there hasn't been an outbreak of Crypto since 2008, however, cases do pop up every year.

"The most common symptom for Crypto, is watery diarrhea," said Harmony DuPort, Assistant Chief of Epidemiology at the Arizona Department of Health Services.

"But people often will have fever, vomiting, stomach cramps, nausea and loss of appetite as well," added DuPort.

In 2015, more than 60 cases of Crypto sickened people around the state.

State health leaders say practice good hygiene at pools to avoid spreading Crypto.

  • Shower thoroughly before getting in and out of the water.
  • Take frequent bathroom breaks, especially young children.
  • Don't put pool water in your mouth or swallow it.
  • And if sick with diarrhea, avoid the pool all together.

The symptoms from Crypto can last anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks and can be very dangerous to pregnant women and young children.

Most people recover on their own, but there are approved FDA drugs to battle Crypto.

Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the United States, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.