GALION — Public health agencies in central Ohio have recently reported an increase in cases of cryptosporidiosis, commonly known as crypto. Crypto is a germ that causes diarrhea.It can be spread by swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter containing this germ.
More than 93 cases have been reported this year in Columbus, Franklin County and Delaware County, which is more than the last three years combined. Many of the cases include people with multiple exposures at recreational water facilities throughout the three jurisdictions.
“There have been no reported cases of cryptosporidiosis in Galion, but following simple safety measures can help keep you and others well,” Environmental Health Director Stephanie Zmuda said.
While the Heise Park Swimming Pool has closed for the season, it still makes sense to take precautions.
The health department has these recommendations for anyone using swimming pools or splash park facilitie; Do not swim when you have diarrhea, and for two weeks after you have recovered; Do not go to the bathroom in the water. This should be stressed to anyone with younger children; Take a shower before going in the water; Avoid swallowing any water and keep it out of your mouth; Wash hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before eating; Change diapers in a bathroom, not beside the pool; Take kids on frequent bathroom breaks and check diapers often.
Crypto is one of the most common causes of recreational water illness in the United States. Common symptoms include watery diarrhea with abdominal pain and cramping, which can be accompanied by dehydration, weight loss, fever, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms can last for two weeks, with improvement often followed by recurrence.
The germ can make anyone sick, but those most likely to become ill are young children, pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems. Infected persons can continue to spread the disease for several weeks after diarrhea subsides, so they should avoid activities involving recreational waters for at least two weeks after diarrhea subsides and practice diligent handwashing.
Again, no cases of crypto have been reported in Galion. The Galion health department inspects all public swimming pools and spray grounds twice per year.
To report suspected cases of crypto, call the Health Department at 419-468-1075. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov.