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Uptick in Utah crypto cases prompts call to not swim if you have diarrhea

Posted at 9:26 AM, Sep 12, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Dept. of Health is asking people to not swim in pools, lakes or reservoirs if they have diarrhea.

The warning comes amid an uptick in cryptosporidium (crypto) cases in Utah.

Since June of this year, there have been 304 people in Utah infected with crypto.

In just the last week, a total of 46 people have been diagnosed with crypto.

READ: Want to avoid getting sick at the pool? ‘Wash your bum!’ Health Dept. says

Many of these people say they spent time in recreational water in the two weeks before they got sick and nearly 45% (132 people) say they visited at least one Utah pool or waterpark.

People can also get sick with crypto after exposure to natural water.

At least 20% (61) of the infected people said they visited a lake or other natural outdoor body of water.

Crypto is a parasite that thrives in the intestines of animals and humans and it’s spread through the feces 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 linked to recreational water in the United States.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following to prevent infection with crypto:

  • Anyone who is sick with diarrhea should stay out of any swimming pool or other body of water during their illness and for 2 weeks after their diarrhea stops. 
  • Avoid swallowing water or getting water in your mouth when you play at a waterpark, swim in a swimming pool or jacuzzi, or when you swim or play in pools or natural bodies of water.
  • Take young children on bathroom breaks or check diapers every 60 minutes while at pools, splash pads, waterparks, lakes, and other places where you swim. Use a bathroom or diaper-changing area and don’t change diapers by the water. Children younger than age 3 should wear a properly fitting swim diaper.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t work against crypto. Wash your hands with soap and water to prevent crypto infection.
  • Always wash (your/your child’s) hands after using the bathroom/changing diapers, swimming in a pool or natural body of water, or after contact with animals. 
  • Always wash your hands before you eat.

Symptoms usually begin about 2-10 days after you get infected and can last for 1-2 weeks. The most common symptom is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss. If you suspect you or your child has crypto, refrain from getting into any bodies of water and contact your healthcare provider.