Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cryptosporidium: Necessary facts

Today's WSJ has a nice, microbiologically accurate article about Cryptosporidium, a parasite dwelling in pools, causing diarrhea, and looking very svelte under the microscope. Facts:
  • It can survive, thanks to its protective spore, in a chlorinated pool for over a week.
  • It cannot survive UV light (which, predictably, is expensive - about $250K).
  • Flu-like symptoms last about two weeks; the parasite is transmitted through feces.
  • A famous outbreak in Wisconsin in 1993 killed 100 and sickened 400,000.
  • After one recovers, that individual can still pass the organism for two weeks.
  • Waterproof pants and swim diapers do not keep diarrhea from entering the water.
  • Shower before swimming! It's not "a public bath tub."
  • A diagram of the infection cycle.
  • Spores dressed up for a ball.
  • A blog containing everything about the parasite that you never wanted to know.


Elephantschild said...


::sounds of feet running, car door slamming, tires squealing::

Be afraid, very afraid.

MathewK said...

We've had reports of this thing on and off in the nations capital's water supply. I think i'll just stay away from that blog about it.