Number of parasite outbreaks in swimming pools doubles in 2 years

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - It’s almost pool season, Fargo Park District pools will be opening up for the summer on June 5th.

But, before you go splashing at a pool this summer, you may want to have a talk with your kids. Experts say a parasitic infection is on the rise, a parasite known as Crypto that can make you very sick.

You catch Crypto by swallowing pool water contaminated with diarrhea. The number of swimming pools with an outbreak of the parasite has doubled in just two years, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Dan Dumas, CEO of My Aquatic Services says the Crypto parasite should be taken seriously. He says, "If it isn't found and treated it can live in there for 10 and a half days in properly treated water." Even the cleanest pools can catch the parasite.

The CDC is asking everyone to do their part in preventing it. The biggest part if not letting your kid swim if they have recently been sick. Once you get to the pool, take your kids on bathroom breaks often, and check diapers in the changing area rather than the pool deck.

Dumas says, "As a mom, as a parent, I'm a grandparent with 12 grandkids, if something happens report it right away to protect everybody. If you let it go, and grab your kid and go out of the water you're putting everyone at risk."

If it's reported, pools are supposed to completely shut down and be tested and cleaned, since the parasite isn't killed by chlorine. "Use caution, know your motels, are they reputable?" While serious, Dumas says it shouldn't keep you out of the pools this summer. "The safety, you can't control it. It's kind of like you can't live in a bubble, if we go out and we know the flu is going around, different things like that, if we stayed home and lived in a bubble, we wouldn't live. I don't think the risk is high enough to worry about, but it needs to be taken super seriously if there is."

If you do catch the Crypto parasite, you can be sick for up to three weeks. Swallowing just one mouthful can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, for some it could even be life threatening.

Experts are unsure if the parasite is becoming more common, or if the reason for the spike is simply more people reporting it.