Parasite cases in public pools have doubled


There's a parasite that's increasingly showing up in public pools and water parks. It's called Cryptosporidium, known as Crypto, and the Centers for Disease Control reports cases of it have doubled since 2014. Local 15's Andrea Ramey reports on how you can avoid getting the diarrhea-causing parasite in tonight's Reality Check.

Last year a waterpark in north Alabama temporarily shut down after fears the parasite Crypto was in the water. Alabama is one of three states the CDC reports investigated and controlled Crypto outbreaks linked to swimming pools or waterparks last year. The agency also says the number of cases has doubled nationwide from 16 outbreaks in 2014 to 32 in 2016.

"This parasite can live in the water for 10 days so that's where I think the scary thing is about," said Melissa Crow.

Crow owns America's Swimming Pool Company, which helps people maintain their pools. Crow says the parasite is persistent. She says there's no magic bullet to killing it and it's resistant to chlorine.

"Even though you're pool water can be balanced and properly chlorinated, the bacteria can live in the water for 10 days , and there's no way to detect it. It is very concerning," said Crow

The parasite can spread when people swallow water that's come into contact with the feces of a sick person. Swallowing just a mouthful of Crypto contaminated water can make people sick for up to three weeks with diarrhea and vomiting. That's why the CDC recommends not drinking the water you swim in and to rinse off before you swim to help remove germs.

"The cleanlier we are, before we get in the pool water, then the less bacteria will be in the water," said Crow.

The Mobile County Health Department says there have not been any cases of water-related Crypto in the county last year or this year.