CDC warns dangerous 'crypto' parasite is on the rise

PHOTO: Kids swimming in a pool, Photo Date: 12/24/2010

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning people a dangerous crypto parasite that is transmitted through swimming pools and is now on the rise.

The parasite is transmitted when a person swallows contaminated water. The parasite can live in pools for up to seven days, and chlorine does not kill it.

If contracted, people can suffer from profuse, watery diarrhea for as long as three weeks, the CDC said.

The symptoms are much worse for children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. It is transmitted when someone who has been sick does not wait at least two weeks to go in the pool. Those who have had diarrhea should wait two weeks to go back into the pool, the CDC said.

“Following simple guidelines, again, if you're sick, don’t come swim,” said Randy Wastradowski, the CEO of the Magic Valley YMCA. “That might increase the odds of something happening. And if you're at a pool that looks a little murky, not really clear, probably wouldn't be a good idea to swim because that's an indication that the disinfectant, the chlorine, probably isn't as strong as it should be."

Wastradowski said swim diapers are required for babies and toddlers who aren’t yet toilet trained.

If something does happen at the YMCA, they are required to shut the pool down while they clean and disinfect.

“We would have to super chlorinate the pool, up to 20 times more than normal for a period of 12 to 24 hours,” Wastradowski said.

Randy Wastradowski, CEO of the Magic Valley YMCA talks about how to prevent the spread of the dangerous fecal parasite. (KMVT image)

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