Outbreak control measures : intensified Cryptosporidiosis (Crypto) control measures for the child care setting
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Outbreak control measures : intensified Cryptosporidiosis (Crypto) control measures for the child care setting

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    Cryptosporidiosis (Crypto) is a gastrointestinal illness caused by the parasite, Cryptosporidium. This illness is a common cause of diarrhea in children, especially in child care settings. The hallmark symptom of Crypto is watery diarrhea, which might be accompanied by stomach ache, nausea and vomiting, fever, and a general sick feeling. Healthy people infected with the parasite almost always get better without any treatment but treatment is available by prescription. An unusual feature of Crypto is that some people seem to get better only to have the diarrhea come back in a few days. Symptoms can come and go for up to 30 days, but usually subside in 1 to 2 weeks. However, Crypto can be a severe and prolonged disease in persons with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS or those taking drugs that suppress the immune system.

    Because the parasite is in feces, anything that gets contaminated by feces can potentially spread the parasite. As a result, the parasite can be spread directly from person to person, through contact with contaminated objects (e.g., toys), or by swallowing contaminated water (drinking and recreational) or food. Crypto outbreaks in child care settings are most common during late summer/early fall (August/September) but might occur at any time. The spread of infection is highest among young children who are not toilet trained and their caregivers (those who change diapers).

    Cryptosporidium is resistant to chlorine disinfection so it is tougher to kill than most disease-causing germs. The usual disinfectants, including most commonly used bleach solutions, have little effect on the parasite. An application of hydrogen peroxide seems to work best.

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