Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) officials are asking for the public's help to prevent the spread of Cryptosporidiosis (Crypto), a disease that spreads easily through swimming in contaminated water and in childcare settings. Crypto is a parasitic disease that can cause loose, watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and slight fever.
Within the last month, 16 cases of Crypto have been reported in Lancaster County, more than all of last year. Most cases involved young children that had been swimming in several different pools during the last 30 days. Health officials are concerned that the numbers of cases could dramatically increase if the proper precautions are not followed.
Although City pools are closed for the season, there are many pools including hotel, apartment, neighborhood and backyard pools that are still being used. Health officials urge parents and caregivers to not allow children to swim if they are experiencing diarrhea or have an upset stomach, and to wait at least 48 hours after the last loose stool movement before allowing them to swim. Health officials stressed that diapers, even swim diapers, do not offer protection if a child has diarrhea or loose stools.
Health officials are also concerned that Crypto could spread quickly to the community if it spreads into a child care center.
"We believe with the public's help we can avert a community wide outbreak of diarrheal illness," said Judy Halstead, Health Director. "Young children that have had diarrhea in the past 48 hours should not be taken to child care facilities or allowed to swim."
More information on LLCHD and public health is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: health).