Durham, Orange swimmers sickened by parasite
Posted December 12, 2013
Three swim team members from Durham and Orange counties have tested positive for cryptosporidiosis, health department officials said Thursday.
Another three swim team members have reported symptoms of the disease, which is caused by a microscopic parasite, and are awaiting test results.
Officials did not release the ages of the swim team members who were sickened or where they swam.
Cryptosporidium is found in fecal matter and is one of the most common causes of waterborne disease in the United States, according to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The parasite has an outer shell that enables it to survive for long periods outside the body, and it is resistant to chlorine.
Symptoms usually develop within 12 days of exposure and include diarrhea, stomach cramps, a low fever and nausea. The infection can be life-threatening for people with weakened immune systems.
The health departments in Orange and Durham counties are working with pool managers to stop the spread of the parasite, and letters have been sent to parents and coaches.
Officials are asking residents not to use local pools if they have had diarrhea in the past two weeks or are experiencing symptoms.