Operators across the nation have closed their pools by now, and for many, autumn could not come soon enough, following several mid- and late-summer crypto outbreaks.
?As of the last week in July, CDC received reports for 2,183 laboratory-confirmed crypto cases,? said CDC epidemiologist Michele Hlavsa, of the first part of summer 2008.
By August, Columbus, Ohio, area health officers had identified 66 crypto cases for the year, 55 since July 1. As a result, Health commissioner Teresa Long issued orders for 28 largest-capacity pools in the region to superchlorinate.
?After it became clear that this wasn?t just a blip, she felt she needed to do what she could to protect the community,? said Jose Rodriguez, director, Office of Communication, Columbus Public Health Department. ?We were trying to be proactive.?
Similar problems plagued New Mexico and Pennsylvania. In the Albuquerque area, officials ordered five pools to increase chlorine levels after confirming three cases of crypto and approximately 40 possible cases. The outbreak has been linked to swim meets involving athletes across the state. Penbyrn Park pool in Abington Township, Pa., also was closed and superchlorinated as a precautionary measure after one person contracted crypto.
According to local media reports, officials in Colorado and Indiana are watching closely after record outbreaks in 2007. Colorado had 216 cases last year, up from an average of approximately 50.
Indiana health officials said the number of illnesses from crypto exposure nearly doubled since 2004, from 79 to 149 last year. So far this year, there have been 95 cases in Indiana.
After last year?s record outbreak in which approximately 1,900 Utah swimmers were sickened, officials acted proactively, installing UV, changing policies on swim diapers and educating the public.
Idaho officials did the same following an outbreak there last year. As of press time, it appears to have worked, with no apparent outbreaks in either Utah or Idaho.
This year the biggest outbreaks were in the Southwest. Phoenix officials closed all 29 city-run pools when some swimmers and lifeguards became ill. Other facilities in the area were closed as well.
At last count, there were more than 400 confirmed cases of crypto and one possible death in the outbreak in north Texas. Pools, waterparks and sprayparks across the Dallas area were closed for superchlorination and set to receive weekly treatments for the remainder of the summer.
The Dallas County Health and Human Services issued a recommendation that anyone with compromised immune systems stay out of the water at public pools or waterparks. Amid concerns that the problem might spread to private pools in apartment complexes and other residential-type pools, Dallas County also recommended that private pool owners treat their pools.