58 sick: Cryptosporidium outbreak in Florida

I do miss our trips to Florida, but not the 24-hour drives, and Brisbane is like the Tampa of Australia, so it doesn’t suck.

doug.ben.familyUnless you get Cryptosproidium.

The Florida Health Department has issued a health alert for Pinellas County which includes St. Petersburg and Clearwater — after 58 cases of a parasitic illness have been reported.

Cryptosporidium is a parasite found in contaminated water, and can make people very sick. Symptoms include severe cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

“It really has to do with coming in contact with contaminated fecal matter where this parasite lives,” said Maggie Hall from the FDOH in Pinellas County.

Cryptosporidium spreads easily in water. Half the cases have come from public pools and water parks in Pinellas, so the facilities were alerted. Northwest Pool shut down as a precaution and is being tested after a child who may have visited there came down with the illness.

‘Wash your bum’ to avoid crypto at pools?

Armchair microbiologist Rick Ledbetter with the Salt Lake County Health Department says that to avoid Cryptosporidium in pools, “Wash your bum! Use plenty of soap, scrub down thoroughly. If you’re a mom of little children, use diapers, wash their bum and make sure you wash your hands before you come back to the pool so again we’re not spreading germs.”

diaper.poolSalt Lake County battled an outbreak of cryptosporidium in 2007 and a spike in cases in 2012. Health officials say it can be easily prevented — if swimmers practice proper hygiene before diving into the pool.

At the Redwood Recreation Center, the pool is closed for five minutes every hour to encourage people to take a bathroom break, rather than going in the pool. Every other hour, the water is tested for bacteria.

The pool’s manager, Avonte King-Henry, said they’re vigilant about germs, knowing how fast crypto can spread.

“Super fast, especially with diarrhea,” he said. “That cloud that happens, it just spreads so fast. It’s so important to get them out and close the pool off.”

Why did UK pool stay open 11 days after diarrhea alert?

The Aqua Vale Swimming Pool remained open for 11 days even though environmental health chiefs raised concerns about a dangerous contamination.

Its two pools were later shut down, on April 3, after tests revealed that cryptosporidium was present in the water.

diaper.poolParents are demanding answers from Everyone Active, the firm that runs the facility.

One father, whose six-year-old daughter had to visit the hospital after swimming there, said: “My daughter has been really ill for more than a week now after going swimming and we’ve been back and forward to the doctors and even up to the hospital she has been so bad.

“None of her friends and family who don’t swim there are sick and to hear they knew about it is infuriating.

“I’m considering taking her out of her lessons there now.”

80 crypto cases a year; handwashing is never enough: UK health chief warns over risk of infection from region’s petting farms

We have a paper coming out shortly about best practices at petting zoos and farm visits and state fairs and just hanging out with animals.

I’ll follow my own best practice and wait until it’s published to talk about it, but Dr Ken Lamden, the health chief of Cumbria and north Lancashire in handwashing.ekka.jpgthe UK is urging parents to be aware of potential infections that can be caught at farm attractions.

Over the past 20 years, an average of around 80 cases of cryptosporidium infection linked to visits to petting farms have been reported to Public Health England each year. This is out of a total of around two million visits to the 1,000 plus farm attractions in the UK, with peak visitor times during school and public holidays.

Dr Lamden, of PHE’s Cumbria and Lancashire Centre, said: “Visiting a farm is a very enjoyable experience for both children and adults alike but it’s important to remember that contact with farm animals carries a risk of infection because of the micro-organisms – or germs – they carry.

 “Anyone visiting a petting farm should be aware of the need to wash their hands thoroughly using soap and water after they have handled animals or been in their surroundings. Children are more at risk of serious illness and should be closely supervised to make sure that they wash their hands thoroughly.

“It is also very important not to rely on hand gels and wipes for protection because these are not suitable against the sort of germs found on farms.” 

Unpasteurized apple cider sickens 11 in Johnson County

In 1923, 24 people were sickened with Salmonella in unpasteurized apple cider.

In 1993, 213 people were sickened with Cryptosporidium from unpasteurized cider in Maine.

The complete list is here.

But in the face of fawning N.Y.Times articles that promote food porn powell.kids_.ge_.sweet_.corn_.cider_.00-300x227over safety with cider, it’s expected that outbreaks will continue.

Apple cider – not the hard stuff but the northern version of pressed apples into juice — is suspected as the cause of a food-poisoning outbreak in eastern Iowa.

The Johnson County Public Health Department said Friday that it is investigating a cluster of cryptosporidium infections.

Doug Beardsley, the county’s public health director, said 11 people became ill, including one who had to be hospitalized. All reported drinking unpasteurized apple cider, he said, though it’s not clear if the cider came from a single source.

Beardsley said no new illnesses are cropping up. He said that even if authorities determine who made or sold the cider, his department wouldn’t necessarily identify the business publicly. That decision would be up to the state health department, he said. The state agency often has declined to identify businesses in such cases if outbreaks are no longer spreading.

Cryptosporidium infections have been widespread in Iowa this year, with more than 1,200 confirmed cases. Many of the infections stemmed from contaminated swimming pools over the summer, though authorities have noted that the parasite can also come from contaminated food and from contact, especially in child-care settings. The state health department said only Johnson County has recently reported cases related to apple cider.

 

Crypto control: NYC opens world’s largest UV drinking water treatment facility

The world’s largest ultraviolet drinking water treatment facility, the $1.5 billion Catskill/Delaware UV Facility, provides treatment specifically for Cryptosporidium and Giardia microorganisms in the drinking water consumed by more than 9 million residents of the city and parts of Westchester County.

The 270,000-square-foot facility is designed to treat more than 2 billion gallons of water each day, more than three times the capacity of the next-Catskill:Delaware UV Facilitylargest municipal UV treatment facility in the United States, which is under construction in Los Angeles, according to DEP.

A 1993 Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee caused new federal regulations for treating drinking water to be created, because Cryptosporidium is resistant to disinfection with chlorine. Researchers then discovered that exposing water to low levels of UV light makes Cryptosporidium and Giardia harmless to human beings.

The Catskill/Delaware UV Facility 2006 began treating water in late 2012 as its construction continued; the construction is now substantially complete. The facility has 56 UV units and 11,760 UV bulbs overall.

Hand sanitizers didn’t protect Iowa kids against crypto after petting cows

This is why the UK says, handwashing with soap and water only at any petting farm or zoo.

A recent cluster of cryptosporidium cases cropped up after a Iowa preschool class visited a farm, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the Iowa Department of Public Health’s medical director, reported this morning. “While on the farm, the children petted cows and cow_hug_cumberlandate snacks,” Quinlisk wrote in a weekly email to public-health officials statewide. “The children did use hand sanitizer before eating; however, hand sanitizers are not particularly effective against crypto. Please continue to encourage handwashing with soap and water whenever possible.”

The Des Moines Register reports the parasite sickened hundreds of Iowans this summer, mainly via tainted swimming-pool water. Many of the patients suffered severe diarrhea. The outbreak has slowed now that most public pools have closed for the season. But infections also can happen in other ways, including contact with infected animals.

Quinlisk did not identify the preschool or say how many children became ill.

On Sept. 12, the state health department reported that there had been 861 confirmed or probable cases in Iowa so far in 2013. In all of 2012, there were 328 such cases.

Crypto problems around the globe

Both Amy and I are terrible swimmers so being in Australia, we take Sorenne to swimming lessons at a heated outdoor pool in Brisbane on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.

Last week, they asked all the kids to go to the one end of the pool, while one of the instructors brought out a net-thingy to clean the water. Being interested in vomit protocol, I asked him what was going on. He said kids, including mine, tend to drink the pool, andcourtlynn.dp.swimsometimes they regurgitate if they take in too much water. It wasn’t vomit so much as water coming back up, and the chlorine would take care of it.

OK.

But what about those babies and their poop? He said we then shut down and take additional precautions.

OK.

This place is great, with the attention to the kids and dealing with obnoxious parents (as any coach has too). But lots of other pools still have problems with poop. And cryptosporidium.

In Iowa, there are now 703 cases of cryptosporidium, which is believed linked to pools, but proof has been lacking.

In New Zealand, a Canterbury swimming pool has been closed after a cryptosporidium outbreak that has sickened at least nine.

In Canada, at least nine are sick with crypto linked to a pool near Regina, Sask.

Did mountain goats cause cryptosporidium outbreak in Oregon drinking water?

Dr. Bill Keene has cracked some novel outbreaks: deer poop on strawberries, norovirus on baby changing tables, salmonella in Guatemalan canteloupe.

Now, the senior state epidemiologist with the Oregon Health Division, is asking, were mountain goats the source of a cryptosporidium outbreak in Baker City, Oregon, that sickened at least 14 people and potentially hundreds?

The Baker City Herald reports that most of the confirmed crypto cases in the U.S. over the past 20 years — there were 7,656 confirmed or probable cases in 2009, and 8,951 in 2010 — were linked to sources such as swimming pools and daycare centers, Mountain Goat nanny and kidsnot municipal drinking water, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For example, an outbreak of crypto that sickened at least 18 in Hull, UK, earlier this month was linked to a childrens’ splash pool.

If another theory about the Baker City outbreak pans out — that the crypto source was feces from mountain goats that live near Goodrich Reservoir — that would be the first such case in crypto annals, at least in the U.S., Keene said.

“I’m pretty sure mountain goats have never been tested (for crypto),” Keene said.

(Cougars or feral cat poop that entered drinking water are believed to have been the source of a toxoplasmosis outbreak in Victoria, B.C. in 1995 that sickened at least 110 and upwards of 3,000.)

Keene said crypto “has been around forever,” and that small numbers of oocysts likely are present in most surface water.

But given the rarity of outbreaks caused by municipal water supplies — including ones, like Baker City’s, that use unfiltered surface water — it seems that Baker City’s ordeal could be “the exception proving the rule,” he said.

Although federal statistics show a sharp increase in crypto cases starting in the 1980s, Keene said that trend likely reflects more widespread testing rather than an actual spread in crypto.

Until the 1980s crypto tests were rare, and they required a high level of expertise.

What brought the bug into the mainstream, so to speak, was the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. Because AIDS patients have severely compromised immune systems they are especially vulnerable to crypto.

“People were dying from this,” Keene said.

Today, crypto tests are easier and more effective, and doctors and other officials are much more likely to suspect crypto than they used to be, he said.

Speaking of tests, Keene said the “official” count of 14 crypto cases in Baker City certainly doesn’t reflect the total number of infections.

That’s almost always the case in outbreaks, he said, because with otherwise healthy people the infection usually doesn’t cause symptoms that require medical attention, so relatively few people ever have stool samples tested.

Keene, who was in Baker City for several days before returning to his Portland office on Monday afternoon, said he and colleagues visited 21 Baker City homes and talked with 62 residents.

Of those, 18 had had symptoms consistent with crypto, Keene said — 29 percent of the total.

Keene said he wouldn’t conclude from that small sample size that one-third of residents were infected — that would be almost 3,000 people — but he said the total cases “could easily be in the hundreds.”

Don’t swim in shit; sick people in UK and NZ

A number of teenagers have fallen ill after a skate park was transformed into a makeshift pool filled with river water.

Crowds of young people flocked to the skate park in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, when word spread that it had somehow been filled with water diaperfrom the nearby River Calder to cool off.

Pictures show at least 20 young people swimming in the dirty, brown water during the recent heatwave.

But the decision backfired when several have since fallen ill and are believed to be suffering from sickness and diarrhea.

In New Zealand, Taranaki has seen at least 24 cases of cryptosporidium since the start of year compared with none for the same period last year.

Dr Jonathan Jarman said, “Some of the cases were children but half were adults, and similar outbreaks have also been seen in other parts of New Zealand … some cases in Taranaki became unwell after recently swimming in a pool.”