Pool Parasite Makes a Splash in Arizona

A nice dip in the pool is a great way to cool off during our steamy summers. But before you jump in, you may want to check out the latest on a pool parasite outbreak that has already sickened more than 100 people in the Phoenix area.

From AzCentral.com:

More than 100 people in the Phoenix area have been sickened in an outbreak of the diarrhea-causing parasite cryptosporidium parvum, and Maricopa County officials have identified more than 20 recreational water facilities — including splash pads, water parks and public pools — that may have been contaminated.

The story went on to say that county officials have not yet identified “the recreational water facilities where patients said they had been swimming prior to developing symptoms or while sick.”

According to CNN.com, “Residents are encouraged to take proper measures when using recreational water areas to prevent the spread of the disease, which spreads in swimming pools when an infected person contaminates the water with fecal matter. The parasite and the disease, commonly referred to as “Crypto” can survive for long periods, even in properly chlorinated water. There’s no way to test pools for the parasite at this time. Officials only learn of a potentially contaminated pool after someone who swam there reports becoming ill.”

The Maricopa County Department of Health has a answers to a list of frequently asked questions on its website that includes the precautions people can take to prevent further spread of the disease.

  • 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.
  • Individuals with diarrhea should avoid food preparation while symptoms last.
  • Children with diarrhea should be excluded from child care settings until the diarrhea has stopped.
  • Wash hands with soap and water thoroughly before eating, preparing food and after toileting or diapering. Alcohol based hand sanitizer is not effective against Crypto.

Earlier this summer, KNXV-TV put together a short video on the concerns around crypto. You can watch it by clicking here or on the picture below.


We will continue to update you with the latest information on the crypto outbreak. Keeping the people of our state informed and on top of important health issues is another way we are working to help make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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