April 21, 2024

Cryptosporidium Outbreak in Caldwell County, North Carolina

A Cryptosporidium outbreak in Caldwell County, North Carolina has sickened an unnamed number of residents, according to the Caldwell County Health Department. No patient age range or illness onset dates were given in the press release, and there is no word on whether or not anyone has been hospitalized. Officials are also not saying if contaminated food or drink, contaminated recreational water, or contact with animals caused these illnesses.

Cryptosporidium Outbreak in Caldwell County, North Carolina

Cryptosporidiosis is caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium. The parasite is spread through person to person contact, through contact with surfaces, and also through food and water that has been contaminated with feces containing the parasite. Swallowing contaminated recreational water is the most common way of contracting this infection.

In the past, Cryptosporidium outbreaks have been linked to drinking raw milk, contact with animals, apple cider, and water parks and swimming pools. There is currently a Cryptosporidium outbreak linked to the New Mexico State Fair that has sickened art least 18 people. And a Cryptosporidium outbreak in Michigan that has sickened at least 12 people in 2022 is linked to contact with sick calves.

Symptoms of Crypto usually begin two to ten days after infection. The most common symptom is watery diarrhea, which usually lasts a week or two. Other symptoms can include stomach cramps or pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, fever, and weight loss. While most people recover, some, including people with compromised immune systems, can become seriously  ill.

The best way to stop the spread of this parasite is to practice good hygiene. Always wash your hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom, before cooking and baking, and before drinking. Also wash them after touching animals or anything in their environment.

If you live in Caldwell County, North Carolina and have been sick with the symptoms of cryptosporidiosis, see your doctor. You may be part of this Cryptosporidium outbreak.

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