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
- 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.