By Janie Southard
One case of cryptosporidiosis was reported last week in Auglaize County, which has resulted in hyperchlorination at three area swimming pools.
According to Dr. Wilfred Ellis, director of the Auglaize County Health Department, the incident occurred at the Minster village pool and, so far, this is the only case reported in the county this season. Managers at Minster and two other local pools (New Bremen and YMCA South) voluntarily hyperchlorinated after the incident was reported.
"For proprietors of pools, they need to follow the protocol for hyperchlorination if a case is reported. For community members, avoid swimming pools if (the community member) is having problems with diarrhea illness or evidence of infection in the gastrointestinal tract. Continue to avoid community pools for two weeks after the problem is resolved," Ellis told The Daily Standard on Monday afternoon.
Hyperchlorination takes about eight hours, according to Aaron Longsworth, registered sanitarian with the Auglaize County Health Department.
"Normal chlorination is one part per million. Cryptosporidium can live up to 6.7 days in that ratio. In hyperchlorination, which is 20 parts per million, the bacteria should be killed in eight hours," Longsworth said. The hyperchlorination is done in the evening and thus works throughout the night when the pool is closed. "The chlorination is used up naturally by sunlight and dirt already in the pool, like sweat, body oils and so forth," he explained.
Most local pool managers typically aim for two to three parts chlorine to one million parts water, although that may slide during the day as more people use the pool.
Last summer in Auglaize, Mercer and Shelby counties, 43 laboratory-confirmed cases and 107 probable cases of cryptosporidiosis were noted, according to nurse Deb Scheer with the Auglaize County Health Department.
Mercer County Health Department has had four cases reported this year, but none associated with swimming pools.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta says cryptosporidiosis is transmitted three ways, all involving fecal contamination.
Nurse Deb Scheer of the Auglaize County Health Department echoed Ellis on Monday morning in emphasizing that people with diarrhea should not swim until two weeks after the last occurrence.
"This is very, very important, as is being careful not to swallow swimming pool water," Scheer said.
CDC information states this infectious disease occurs worldwide and is transmitted "by ingesting fecally contaminated food or water, including water swallowed while swimming; by exposure to fecally contaminated environmental surfaces; and by the fecal-oral route from person to person, for example changing diapers ..."
Symptoms can include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and fever and last an average of six to 10 days.