The North Shore Health Department on Wednesday announced one confirmed case and two probable cases of Cryptosporidiosis in the North Shore, bringing the total of confirmed or likely cases to 27 in the last month.
The five confirmed cases announced this week by NSHD were confirmed by positive stool tests collected by the department.
According to NSHD Director Jamie Berg, interviews with no-longer-symptomatic North Shore residents indicate 14 more probable cases. The department announced eight confirmed cases late last week. According to an NSHD news release, the department expects an increase in the number of confirmed cases as a result of person-to-person contact.
Cryptosporidium is a parasite, commonly spread through water or food, which can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and dehydration. According to the national Centers for Disease Control, symptoms usually begin within 2 to 10 days of exposure and typically last one to two weeks.
The majority of cases have come from Whitefish Bay with several in Fox Point and Bayside. She said several Crypto sufferers swam at either the Whitefish Bay High School swimming pool or the Jewish Community Center pools, also in Whitefish Bay. The JCC closed its pools Tuesday and will keep them closed for 10 days. The high school treated its pool over the weekend and reopened it on Monday. Berg said NSHD is working with other area pools.
Those who have exhibited Crypto symptoms are advised not to swim for 14 days after their last episode of diarrhea.
“Each time an affected person swims, a pool must be closed and treated,” warned Berg.
In many cases, said Berg, Crypto had spread as a result of insufficient hand-washing or direct contact.
The North Shore Water Commission, which provides drinking water to Whitefish Bay, Glendale, Fox Point and Bayside, has confirmed that drinking water coming from its filtration facility is clean and Crypto-free.
“I want to ensure everyone that the water is safe to drink in the North Shore area,” NSWC Manager Eric Kiefer said.
Berg urges those with Crypto symptoms to stay home from work or school and get tested, either by going to their doctor or getting a stool sample test through NSHD. Even after symptoms have subsided people can still be carriers for weeks or months, Berg said, meaning North Shore residents have to be dutiful about cleanliness if they have recently exhibited symptoms.
“It really comes down to hand-washing at this point,” said Berg, who noted that a number of the confirmed and probable cases were the result of people interacting with symptomatic family members. “The important thing with Crypto is that your symptoms may have passed but you can still (spread) the parasite.”
North Shore residents can contact NSHD with questions or request a stool sample collection kit by calling (414) 371-2980. Kits are available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Shorewood office, 2010 East Shorewood Blvd., and Brown Deer office, 4800 West Green Brook Drive.
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