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Good hygiene the key to stopping spread of “crypto” among kids

(Radio Iowa) – The outbreak of cryptosporidiosis or “crypto” continues as many kids are returning or getting ready to go back to school. State medical director, Patti Quinlisk says the believe the cases of the disease will soon ease up.

“We think a lot of it may be due to swimming pools and stuff, which means once the swimming pools are shut down and kids are back in schools, at least that one type of spread should be stopped,” Quinlisk says. “But of course we don’t it to then get into the schools and other places and start spreading in other venues.”

Swimming pools generally close for the summer season on the Labor Day weekend. Crypto is caused by a parasite that lives in the intestines of humans and animals and is spread in feces. Dr. Quinlisk says the best way to stop it is to cut off the source.

“Bottom line is, let’s keep kids home who have diarrhea or if you’re an adult, you shouldn’t go to work with diarrhea. And everybody wash your hands and we should get this under control,” Quinlisk says. She says it won’t help if kids aren’t following the proper technique for handwashing.

“Which is again, warm water and soap and sing Happy Birthday twice while you’re doing it, and that means your hands are clean” according to Quinlisk. “So most in school if they don’t have diarrhea and wash their hands correctly then there shouldn’t be that much of a risk. But you have to be sure they do those two things right.”

Well over 300 cases of crypto have been reported so far this year when there were a total of 328 all of last year. Polk County reported 170 cases through early July alone. Crypto can lead to watery diarrhea, sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and low grade fever.