Tarrant County Investigates Cryptosporidiosis Outbreak

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Tarrant County Public Health is conducting an investigation into the cause of an illness involving eight people whose laboratory results confirm Cryptosporidium as the parasite that sickened them around the end of June and early July.

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Cryptosporidium, found in the feces of infected people and animals, can contaminate soil, food, water, or surfaces. An individual becomes infected with the Cryptosporidium parasite by ingesting contaminated food or water or having contact with other contaminated objects. Cryptosporidium can be spread through swimming pools and lakes when swimmers swallow contaminated water. Cryptosporidium can also be found in water fountains, water parks and other recreational water settings like rivers and ponds.

Initial investigations have eliminated public drinking water sources as a cause of the illnesses. The information collection is in progress to determine common connections among the people sickened. Based on reports received from the sick people, Burger's Lake (a recreational facility) in Fort Worth has been identified as a potential source, but that has not been confirmed. The investigation and the collection of data are ongoing. Other potential sources like the food eaten by the people who are sick are being investigated.

Cryptosporidium is diagnosed as cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease caused by a parasite. Its symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (which can last 1-2 weeks). It can also cause dehydration in young children, pregnant women and other vulnerable populations. People who experience these symptoms should contact their medical provider.

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