Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium is a waterborne parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis, and is the leading cause of diarrhea acquired from water among humans.

Cryptosporidium

Increasing Instances of Cryptosporidium

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), instances of Cryptosporidium have increased by 13%, on average, each year since 2009.

Cryptosporidium is:

  • The leading cause of diarrhea acquired through the consumption of contaminated water.
  • Spread by the ingestion of water or food containing contaminated human or animal feces.
  • The third leading cause of diarrhea in the United States.
  • Most commonly linked to contaminated pools and splash parks, and;
  • Has been linked to more than 400 outbreaks, nearly 7500 infections, almost 300 hospitalizations, and one death between 2009 and 2017.

Crypto infections disproportionately affect young children between the ages of 1-4 years, most likely as a result of an absence of potty training, handwashing, and swallowing pool water.

Additionally, the virus is widespread and nearly impossible to prevent during calving season, or in areas where cows, goats, and sheep are prolific.

According to the CDC;

Cryptosporidium contamination can be unavoidable and widespread in environments where ruminants such as cattle, goats, and sheep live.

Cryptosporidium transmission from pre-weaned calves to humans has been well documented, and the spring seasonal peak in outbreaks associated with contact with cattle coincides with the spring calving season.

Cryptosporidiosis Outbreaks — United States, 2009–2017

 

Addressing Cryptosporidium Through Improved Infection Control Procedures

Crypto is resistant to chlorine and can survive in properly treated swimming pools for up to 10 days.

The only practical methods for removing the disease once it has contaminated a pool, spa, or splash park is to filter the water several times though a high-quality filtration system.

If a filtration system is absent or insufficient, the only alternatives are to drain the pool and sanitize the surfaces and pipes, attempt to super-chlorinate the system or wait for the virus to die naturally and avoid contact for the duration.

While those methods may be more or less practical for small home pools and spas, for businesses that rely on the availability of recreational pools and spas, the absence of the service combined with the negative publicity can be damaging to profits and public image, underscoring the need for prevention.

To combat the potential for cryptosporidium at your hotel, spa, or water park:

  • Ensure all surfaces where humans traverse are cleaned and then disinfected every day, especially restrooms and dining areas.
  • Use microfiber to increase the efficacy of the cleaning and disinfection procedure.
  • Observe and respect disinfectant lay times to ensure all germs and viruses are killed.
  • Document the areas that must be cleaned, when, and by whom, and then ensure all custodial staff is regularly trained in their responsibilities to avoid overlooking critical hot spots.
  • Encourage thorough handwashing after using the bathroom or before eating among guests, and enforce the policy with employees.
  • Discourage guests from using the water facilities if they have or recently recovered from diarrhea.
  • Ensure baby diaper changing stations are adequately equipped to handle cleanup, and;
  • Report and respond to any accidents that may affect the water or health and safety of your guests immediately.

In daycare facilities, follow all cleaning and regulatory guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces children and toddlers will be exposed to.

For those in the ranching industry or 4H clubs, make sure to thoroughly remove soiled clothing before entering human-occupied spaces and wash thoroughly after interacting with livestock.

 

References & Resources

 

Takeaway

The instances of cryptosporidium continue to increase among the U.S. population, with regular spikes in outbreaks occurring around calving season for those in rural areas, and in the summer months for both water parks, public pools, and daycare centers.

The parasite can lead to, though rare, a deadly instance of diarrhea, and is especially dangerous among very young children who have not developed quality bathroom habits, tend to swallow pool water or place contaminated objects in their mouths.

While the current numbers show relatively few (when compared to other parasites and diseases) outbreaks and hospitalizations, the rate of increase in outbreaks should be cause for alarm, especially among business owners whose livelihood is dependent upon the availability of recreational water resources.

If you would like to learn more about the advantages to a clean for health first approach for your facility, or if you would like to discuss your organization's cleaning and infection control requirements, contact us today for a free quote!

In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 437-3253

In Fresno CA, call (559) 206-1059

In Valencia CA, or Santa Clarita CA, call (661) 437-3253