The parasite cryptosporidium is quickly invading Polk County pools. While it’s a common problem this time of the year, health officials are concerned because of the unusually high number of cases.
Polk County Public Health spokeswoman, Sarah Boese, says the parasite is mostly found in drinking water and recreational water.
Des Moines is no stranger to the parasite cryptosporidium better known as crypto.
On average every year the state has about 18 to 24 cases of crypto. However, in July there there’s already been 85 cases, most of them in the Des Moines metro area.
Boese says, “It’s very important to avoid swallowing pool water because the parasite has to be ingested for you to actually become sick.”
After ingesting the parasite, swimmers could experience severe cramping and diarrhea for up to a month.
“Even the most well maintained pool and clean pool can become contaminated the minute someone who has cryptosporidium enters the pool,” says Boese.
City of Des Moines Parks manger, Matt Salvatore and his team have treated the metro pools with extra chlorine to keep the parasite from spreading.
“We`ve doubled our sanitation efforts and just doing all we can to get the message out there,” say Salvatore.
However, the Polk County Health Departments says the only way to stop the spread is to take a shower before entering the pool, making sure children’s bottoms are clean, and stay away from the water if you’ve had diarrhea in the past two weeks.