County health leaders collaborate on Crypto outbreak

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Public health officials from Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky are tracking a recent spike in the spread of Cryptosporidiosis.

Commonly called Crypto, the disease is caused by microscopic parasites found in diarrhea and fecal matter.

Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting.

So far this year more than 200 cases have been identified in the region. Last year in Cincinnati, 12 cases were reported to the health department, so far this year, 75 cases have been reported.

There is no clear reason to the surge in Crypto cases but health experts think additional use of swimming pools might be a factor.

"People wanting to swim more often because it has been so hot this summer, so people have been going to the pools more often and if that happens the pools are a great environment for this parasite to live," says Greg Kesterman.

Kesterman is the Assistant Health Commissioner for Hamilton County Public Health. Hamilton County along with the Cincinnati Health Department and the Northern Kentucky Health Department are joining forces to prevent the spread of Crypto in the community.

Visions Community Services in the west end of Cincinnati was alerted of the problem last week and reported five cases of diarrhea from its early childhood education program. "So far none of the people that we have sent to be tested have turned up positive," says Denise Steward, director of early childhood education.

Steward says employees are using a bleach and hydrogen peroxide solution to wipe down and clean all surfaces to kill Crypto as well as being vigilant about washing hands throughout the day.

Health departments are also working with local pools to super chlorinate the water. They recommend anyone with symptoms to avoid the water for up to two weeks after the symptoms go away.

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