CDC warns swimmers about ‘Crypto,’ a parasite that can live for days in pools

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Federal public health officials are urging people to take precautions to protect themselves against a microscopic parasite that can live for days in swimming pools and water playgrounds and cause severe intestinal problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report last week about the increased number of outbreaks caused by the fecal parasite Cryptosporidiummore commonly known as “Crypto.”

The parasite, a common cause of water-related disease outbreaks across the United States, causes cryptosporidiosis, a disease characterized by nausea, vomiting and “watery diarrhea” that can last for weeks, according to the CDC. Although most cases do not require medical treatment, public health experts warn the parasite may pose a greater risk to people who are especially young or old or who have compromised immune systems and are at increased risk for “life-threatening malnutrition.”

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