Ohio has seen a nearly fourfold increase in the number of diarrhea-causing infections tied to the cryptosporidium parasite commonly found in pools and water parks and spread through contact with the feces of an infected person, according to state and federal health officials.
Last year, there were 1,940 cases of cryptosporidium infections — commonly referred to as “crypto” — in Ohio, up 386 percent from a median of 399 cases each year from 2012 to 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There here were 24 crypto-related outbreaks in Ohio last year, and 10 of those outbreaks were associated with aquatic venues, according to the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health.
Outbreaks in Ohio made up almost a third of the 32 outbreaks linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds in the U.S. last year, which was double the national figure from 2014, according to the CDC, which recently issued a nationwide warning about contaminated pool water just days before the pool season begins.
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Six specimens collected from patients affected by outbreaks in Ohio were identified with a subtype of the parasite, known as cryptosporidium hominis, which has rarely been identified in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Five of those six specimens were from an unidentified university sports team’s members. The sixth specimen was from a patient with no epidemiologic link to the university sports team except visiting the same water park, the CDC said.