This week’s MMWR includes a report by the CDC on an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis at a "splash park" in Idaho in 2007.  Cryptosporidiosis is the illness caused by the protozoan cryptosporidium.   According to the CDC:

Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis generally begin 2 to 10 days (average 7 days) after becoming infected with the parasite. The most common symptom of cryptosporidiosis is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include: 

  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Weight Loss

 Symptoms usually last about 1 to 2 weeks (with a range of a few days to 4 or more weeks) in persons with healthy immune systems. Occasionally, people may experience a recurrence of symptoms after a brief period of recovery before the illness ends. Symptoms can come and go for up to 30 days.

The 2007 outbreak in Idaho occurred in August, and involved 5 laboratory confirmed and 45 probable cases of illness associated with exposure to a "splash park"  The report states that water samples from the splash park tested positive for cyrptosporidium.  Cryptosporidium is a chlorine resistant bacteria, and therefore, the CDC says, "splash park design, operation, access to hygiene facilities, and public education" are essential to outbreak prevention. 

Splash parks have a long history of association with cryptosporidium outbreaks.   Marler Clark currently represents plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit related to an outbreak in upstate New York in 2005.