COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The outbreak of crypto cases has grown to 202 throughout central Ohio.
According to Columbus Public Health, the number of reported cryptosporidiosis cases so far this year is more than the last 4 years combined. The outbreak is not tied to any one location as a large number of cases include people with multiple exposures at various local recreational water facilities.
In response to the outbreak, public health is reaching out and working with pool operators, schools and day care facilities to share the latest guidance for Crypto prevention from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
All Columbus pools, spray grounds and the The Scioto Mile Fountain will be closed Friday, August 19 for preventative maintenance. Columbus Public Health representative said the plan is to reopen the pools Saturday.
Two community pools in Dublin have been closed following the advisory from CPH, and will hyperchlorinate the pools in an effort to kill the parasite. The North pool at 5660 Dublinshire Drive and the South pool at 6363 Woerner Temple Road were shut down and will reopen after the pools have rebalanced to a safe level.
The city said in a press release that it has had “no reports of water related illnesses” in its facilities.
“It is definitely a little worrisome just having an infectious disease that is affecting the area so much,” says swimmer Jennifer Fer.
Fer swims once a week at Dodge Pool in Columbus and is glad to see the staff being proactive in preventing the spread of crypto.
Parent and swimmer Ladi Veli agrees.
“If it’s being closed, that means proper precautions are being taken care of to assure the kids’ safety,” says Veli.
Columbus city pools are getting ready to close for the season on Sunday, but they’ll shut down Friday to be hyperchlorinated.
“We treat it and we disinfect everything within the facility,” says aquatics administrator for the City of Columbus John Gloyd.
He says the city health department has asked all community pools in Columbus and Franklin County to disinfect their pools as a precaution.
“It’s a communicable disease that spreads easily. It’s a disease that normal levels of chlorine will not kill,” says Gloyd.
He says all of their pools will get an extra 50-60 gallons of chlorine, all while being monitored to make sure levels are maintained at 20 parts per million for at least 12 hours.
He says swim lessons ended today, so only family open swim times will be affected while they’re closed.
He asks parents and children not to come to the pool if they’re sick.
“Wash your hands, make sure that your kids using the restroom facilities regularly,” says Gloyd.
He says this is the second time this summer they’ve had to hyperchlorinate Dodge Pool. Three weeks ago, it was closed for cleaning after someone who had crypto visited the pool.
Gloyd says it’s been over a decade since he’s seen an outbreak this bad.
To reduce the spread of illness when heading to a spray fountain, pool or water park:
- Do not swim when you have diarrhea and for two weeks after you recovered.
- Do not pee or poop in the water.
- Take a shower/bathe before going in the water.
- Wash hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before eating.
- Change diapers in a bathroom and not by the pool.
- Take kids on frequent bathroom breaks and check diapers often.
- Avoid swallowing any water and keep it out of your mouth.
Additionally, the CDC recommends these safety measures for schools and child care facilities:
- Keep kids with diarrhea out of a child care setting and school until diarrhea has stopped.
- Keep kids with diarrhea or those diagnosed with Crypto out of water-play and swimming activities for at least 2 weeks after diarrhea has stopped.
- Practice good hygiene, especially handwashing with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. Crypto is not killed by alcohol gels or hand sanitizers.
- Have kids wash their hands when they first arrive, after they use the toilet, after having their diapers changed, and before eating snacks or meals.
- Keep facilities clean by disinfecting bathrooms, tabletops, desks, diaper-changing areas, toys, food surfaces and high chairs every day.
Crypto is a germ that causes diarrhea found in the fecal matter of a person who has been infected by crypto, it is spread by swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter containing crypto or from human-to-human contact.
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. Infected persons can continue to spread the disease for several weeks after diarrhea subsides, so they should avoid activities in recreational waters for at least two weeks after diarrhea subsides and practice diligent handwashing.