June 18, 2024

Cryptosporidiosis Outbreak in Johnson County, Kansas

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JDCHE) has reported that there is a Cryptosporidiosis outbreak in that area. This illness is caused by the protozoan Cryptosporidium parvum.

Swimming poolThe outbreak is associated with swimming pools in Overland Park and Shawnee. The pool in Overland Park is privately owned and managed by a homeowners’ association. That pool has been closed.

The City of Shawnee has performed a shock treatment to the pool. This kills the protozoa and removes any potential danger. Public health officials have determined that there is “no public health risk at Shawnee’s city pools and that they are safe for the public to continue to visit.”

So far, three people have been sickened in this outbreak. Logan Marsh, JCDHE director said in a statement, “at this time, we have three confirmed cases and are tracking a few more possible cases in the community. We encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently and ensure their children take frequent breaks from the pool to prevent accidents.”

The symptoms of cryptosporidiosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting. It is spread by contact with feces of infected people or animals, consumption of food contaminated by feces, person-to-person, and animal-to-animal contact. Symptoms usually develop 2 to 10 days after exposure and last 1 to 2 weeks.

This illness can be spread for two weeks after the symptoms disappear. For this reason, anyone who has had diarrhea should  not swim for 2 weeks after the symptoms end. Crypto is chlorine resistant because it has a tough outer shell, and can live for days in treated water. There is no effective drug for the treatment of this illness.

To prevent this illness, always wash your hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and warm running water after using the bathroom and changing diapers. Try to avoid swallowing pool water when swimming. Change children’s diapers often and in the restroom, not by the side of the pool. Finally, make sure children take frequent bathroom breaks when swimming.

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