Cryptosporidium outbreaks at the height of swim season have sickened bathers and closed many Southwestern pools and sprayparks.

In the Dallas metroplex, medical examiners are investigating whether a 6-year-old?s death was a result of crypto. At least 100 people in the area were sickened, and 84 were confirmed with the disease. The likely source was an outbreak at Burger?s Lake Park in Fort Worth, Texas. As a result, officials across the region acted pre-emptively.

All city-run pools and many sprayparks in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Garland, Frisco and other North Texas communities were closed. Additionally, the YMCAs of Metropolitan Dallas and Fort Worth closed their pools for superchlorination, as did operators at Hawaiian Gardens waterpark in Garland, after a reported crypto case there. Burger?s Lake was closed for about two weeks for superchlorination.

As of press time, Dallas had recorded 41 cases of crypto since June, compared with 237 documented cases last year. To prevent another outbreak, weekly superchlorination was scheduled at all Dallas public pools and sprayparks for the remainder of the summer, the Dallas Morning News reported. Health department officials sent an alert to area doctors.

In Phoenix, lifeguards and some swimmers became ill, so all 29 pools were closed for several days. Local media reported as many as 58 people may have been sickened. The county usually sees 20 to 30 cases

annually, said Dr. Bob England, director, Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

?We have increased our efforts to educate the public about the need [for] proper hygiene when using our pools,? said Ted Koester, acting deputy director, Parks and Recreation Department, Specialized Maintenance and Aquatics Division. ?We have [also] made swim diapers available at all our pools. During the upcoming off season, we?ll be thoroughly examining all practices and policies regarding pool operation.?

In light of the closures in Phoenix, surrounding Arizona communities including Tempe, Chandler, Surprise and Sun City also tested their public pools. The Cox Splash Playground at Tempe Beach Park in Tempe and the aquatics facility in Goodyear were closed for disinfection after the parasite was discovered at those locations.