If you are in Iowa, it is the best time to be very careful with the water you drink. The state’s health officials have issued a warning regarding a crypto outbreak, which is a waterborne disease. Crypto is short for cryptosporidiosis. If you are not familiar with this disease, here are some facts from the CDC web site:
Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by microscopic parasites of the genus Cryptosporidium. Both the disease and the parasite are commonly known as “Crypto.”
Many species of Cryptosporidium exist that infect humans and a wide range of animals. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very resistant to chlorine disinfection.
While this parasite can be transmitted in several different ways, water is a common method of transmission and Cryptosporidium is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease (drinking water and recreational water) among humans in the United States.
Take note that recreational water is included in the description so that means that swimming pools and the like could transmit the disease as well. Authorities in Iowa have issued the warning but they have not pinpointed the specific areas which are high risk. Just to be safe, always wash your hands after dealing with dirty things such as diapers and trash. Also, if you go to a public swimming pool – avoid it if you can, really – be extra careful about accidentally ingesting the pool water.