Date Published: 27 February 2009

Further increase in Cryptosporidiosis cases

Health News from Australia.

NSW Health Director of Communicable Diseases, Dr Jeremy McAnulty today advised the count on cryptosporidiosis cases in NSW for February 2009 had increased to 201 cases, with a further 44 cases being notified to NSW Health in the last 24 hours.

"There have been 201 cases of cryptosporidiosis reported to date in February this year across NSW. This compares to 106 cases in January and 45 cases in December 2008. The highest rates of infections are in children under five,” Dr McAnulty said.

Dr McAnulty confirmed the count for February 2009 is the highest for that month in 10 years.

He urged people who have been sick with diarrhoea, not to enter swimming pools until at least two weeks after they have completely recovered.

Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrhoeal disease caused by a parasitic infection of the intestine. The most common symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sometimes fever, nausea and vomiting. There is no specific treatment for the condition and symptoms may last a few weeks in some people,” he said.

While there is no common link among most cases, some cases have reported swimming in common pools. Pools can easily be contaminated by infectious swimmers and so it is vital that people take care not to contaminate pools,” Dr McAnulty said.

Dr McAnulty said despite no direct evidence that swimming pools had been associated with illness, some pool owners as a precaution had super-chlorinated their pools to reduce any risk of contamination. Swimming pools include:

• Queanbeyan
• Bemboka
• Homebush Olympic
• Stanhope
• Mt Druitt
• Waves in Western Sydney
• Ripples in Western Sydney
• Blacktown
• Parramatta
• Windsor
• Springwood
• Granville
• Norwest in Western Sydney
• Merrylands
• Katoomba
• Blackheath
• Enmore
• Mt Annan
• Manly Andrew Boy Charlton

All these swimming pools received super-chlorination treatments to do everything possible to eliminate any risk of infection,” Dr McAnulty said.

NSW Health has no evidence that these pools were the cause of any infection. We commend the pool owners for taking appropriate action."

Dr McAnulty recommended to avoid getting infected with the parasite:

• Always wash your hands thoroughly for 10 seconds with soap and running water after using the toilet, changing nappies, or handling animals;
• Avoid swallowing or putting pool or spa water in your mouth; and
• Don’t drink untreated water - bring water to a rolling boil to kill these parasites.

NSW Health recommends parents of young children do the following things to avoid pool contamination:

• Take their child on bathroom breaks often rather than waiting to hear they ‘have to go’ as it may be too late;
• Children who are not toilet-trained should wear waterproof tight-fitting pants over swimmers;
• Change nappies in a bathroom and not at the poolside as germs can spread to surfaces or objects in and around the pool and spread illness;
• Wash their child thoroughly (especially on the bottom) with soap and water before going swimming; and
• Wash their hands with soap and water after changing a child’s nappy.



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