swimming pool

Don’t Swallow Pool Water! Diarrhea-Causing Crypto Lurks in Summer Swimming Pools

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Radhika Gharpure MPH DVM Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer CDC

Dr. Gharpure

Radhika Gharpure MPH DVM
Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this report? Would you tell us about cryptosporidiosis infections?  Where is is found? How is it transmitted?

Response: The data from our most recent report looked at outbreaks caused by Cryptosporidium (Crypto) in the United States during 2009 – 2017. Outbreaks have increased an average of 13% each year. Crypto, a parasite, is spread through the poop of infected humans or animals. People can get sick after they swallow the parasite in contaminated water or food or after contact with infected people or animals.

Crypto is the leading cause of disease outbreaks in the United States linked to water, specifically outbreaks linked to pools or water playgrounds.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? How can they protect themselves from a crypto infection? 

swimming poolResponse: Since Crypto is extremely tolerant to chemicals typically used for disinfection, like chlorine, it can be tough to kill. So it is best to keep out of where we live, work, and play in the first place. Here are few simple but effective steps you can take to help keep you and your loved ones healthy:

  • Do not swim or let kids swim if sick with diarrhea.
  • If diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis, do not swim until 2 weeks after diarrhea completely stops.
  • Do not swallow the water you swim in.
  • Keep kids sick with diarrhea at home from childcare.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after coming in contact with animals or anything in their environment, especially animal poop.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not work effectively on Crypto.
  • Remove shoes worn in the animal environments (for example, in barns) before going inside your home.
  • Drink only pasteurized milk or apple cider.
  • Pasteurized means heating to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to kill illness-causing germs 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures? 

Response: We are building CryptoNet, the first DNA fingerprinting–based system for a parasitic disease, to better track the parasite to see how it spreads and help detect and investigate outbreak.


Gharpure R, Perez A, Miller AD, Wikswo ME, Silver R, Hlavsa MC. Cryptosporidiosis Outbreaks — United States, 2009–2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:568–572. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6825a3

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Jul 2, 2019 @ 10:15 pm 

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