Waterborne Illness Outbreak in U.S.


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MASON CITY, IA – Cryptosporidium is a recreational, waterborne illness that has been affecting people across the U.S this summer.

The illness is highly contagious and stems from a parasite that can’t be killed with everyday cleaning tactics.

“Cryptosporidium is actually a parasite that’s found in our stool,” Karen Crimmings said. “You can get it through ingesting the parasite typically if it’s contaminated food or water.”

Crimmings is a Disease Prevention Specialist and has had experience with this illness breaking out in our area in the past.

Polk County has reported that 68 cases of the illness have been recorded in the state.

“Cryptosporidium is kind of a strange one in the fact that it’s not killed by chlorine and so when we talk to families that have ‘crypto’ in their household, because it is very contagious, we will recommend that they use hydrogen peroxide to clean surfaces and that’s kind of a strange cleaning product that people aren’t used to,” said Crimmings.

Health officials suggest that anyone with symptoms such as diarrhea or stomach cramps avoid swimming in public places as this is very contagious and water can spread the illness very quickly.


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