CDC Warns About Possible Sickness at Pools

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KINGSTON -- With summer just around the corner, the Centers for Disease Control is warning parents about the increase in outbreaks of a parasitic infection linked to swimming pools and water playgrounds.

6-year-old Jack English of Kingston and his younger brother love going to the Kingston Community Pool every summer. They know how to act when swimming, and they want to tell other kids too.

"Maybe I should ask kids to not go to the bathroom in the pool," English said.

The CDC is warning parents about cryptosporidium, a germ that causes diarrhea. It is spread by swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter.

At the Kingston Community Pool, employees are constantly checking to make sure the water stays clean.

"Our pool runs off a computer system. The computer tells it if it needs to add anything. It has alarms on it to tell you if we're short on anything," said Gregory Kriner, the director of Kingston's Parks and Recreation.

Outbreaks of "crypto" linked to swimming pools doubled in 2016 compared to 2014. There were 32 reports of the parasite in the United States last year.

"At first, we're always, of course, leery of it. But you do smell the chlorine, so you have a pretty good feeling that it's clean," said the English boys' grandmother, Karen Gurnari.

The best way to prevent the spread of "crypto" is not letting your kids go in the pool if they have been sick in the last two weeks, and by making sure they are clean before going in.

"Take a shower before they enter the pool area, then they should shower when they leave to pool area too. That's why they're right there in the locker rooms when you come and go," Kriner said.

Gurnari says her grandsons know not to swallow the water in a public pool, so she will let them keep going in.

"We worry about germs. We always have. We want them to be healthy, but you can only shelter them so much," Gurnari explained.

An otherwise healthy person who gets infected with the germ can be sick for up to three weeks with stomach illness.