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Health Department offers advice to avoid spread of cryptosporidia: Simple precautions can prevent repeat of outbreak


The Southeastern Utah District Health Department and the Utah Department of Health Bureau of Epidemiology's surveillance efforts for cryptosporidium have begun.

In the summer and fall of 2007, Utah experienced the largest reported recreational water-associated outbreak of cryptosporidiosis (crypto) in the United States. Between June and December, public health officials confirmed more than 1,900 cases of crypto throughout the state. Most of the victims reported swimming at a recreational water facility prior to getting sick.

Infection with cryptosporidiosis causes watery diarrhea, stomach cramps/pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and as a result of the diarrhea, dehydration and weight loss. Symptoms usually last about one to two weeks, and may go in cycles in which a person may feel better for a few days, and then feels worse again.

The health district recommends the following measures to keep yourself and others safe from the disease:

* Do not swim if you have diarrhea and don't let family members, especially young children, either.

* Wait two weeks after diarrhea has stopped before swimming.

* Take a shower with soap and water before swimming (referred to as a "cleansing shower").

* Do not swallow pool water or get pool water into your mouth.

* Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.

* Take regular bathroom breaks while swimming.

* Change diapers often. Change diapers in the bathroom, not at the poolside.

* Wash your child's bottom with soap and water after changing a diaper and then wash your hands with soap and water.

For more information on preventing recreational water infection, visit

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