November 26, 2014

Cryptosporidium Outbreak at Minnesota Water Parks

There has been an outbreak of Cryptosporidium at two Minnesota water parks. This parasite causes a gastrointestinal disease with diarrhea. While most people recover in a couple of weeks, some people can develop life-threatening complications.

Children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and anyone with a chronic illness are most susceptible to complications. The parasite’s oocysts can resist many different disinfectants. Transmission is from fecal contamination in the water; swimmers swallow water that contains the parasite.

Trisha Robinson, Epidemiologist in Acute Disease Investigation and Control at the Minnesota Department of Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin that there was an outbreak at the Edgewater Resort and Waterpark in Duluth, and a second outbreak at a waterpark in Brainerd. One person has been hospitalized in each of those outbreaks.

She stated, “there is no evidence that the two outbreaks are related. Although the original course of contamination was not confirmed, an infectious pool user most likely introduced the parasite into the water.”

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