Things to pack for a day at the water park: extra swim suit, towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a full fist aid kit. According to The Columbus Dispatch, at least 19 people have contracted a "diarrheal disease" after spending a day at the Zoombezi Bay water park during the month of July. Some of the 19 have tested positive for cryptosporidiosis, which is a disease caused by microscopic parasites that can live in a host's intestines before being "passed in the stool," according to MedicineNet and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Commonly known as "Crypto," this disease/parasite can infect both humans and animals.
Authorities believe someone already experiencing Crypto symptoms visited the park and spread it to the other visitors. According to the CDC, the "parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for extended periods of time and makes it tolerant to chlorine disinfection."
"I know it’s hard because it’s hot outside, people want to go swimming and get refreshed," Traci Whittaker, a spokesperson for the Delaware General Health District, said. "But it’s super important not to get in the water if you're sick."
Crypto can last anywhere from one week to one month. Its symptoms include:
Although the initial strain was likely resistant to the original levels of chlorine at the water park, officials have increased chlorine levels within Zoombezi Bay. According to Whittaker, park visitors began to notice symptoms between July 9 and 26, and Columbus Zoo officials were "alerted to the issue" on July 20.
Other health and safety precautions have been implemented, including:
new signs warning against swimming while sick
signs warning against loose infant/adult diapers
chlorine tests every 2 hours
sanitation equipment in the kiddie pools
bi-weekly tests for various organisms
According to Columbus Public Health, at least 7 of the 19 diagnosed individuals were Columbus locals.
Outbreaks of Crypto are not very common, and there have been no new cases since officials treated the Zoombezi Bay water on July 20. This leads authorities to believe that this is an isolated incident.
If you think you might be coming down with something, be sure to take care of yourself!