Ah, summer. Popsicles, grilling, long days, and, of course, swimming. And, increasingly, sprinting to the nearest bathroom, porta-potty, bush, or duffel bag of total stranger, thanks to a nasty little parasite called Cryptosporidium.
Known colloquially as “Crypto,” Cryptosporidium is a parasite that’s highly resistant to chlorine and, once it gets in your system, can linger for up to five weeks. Oh, and it can live for up to ten days in chlorinated water, so, no, your pool is not safe.
And according to the CDC, Crypto’s having a real party in our pools and waterways. It just finalized data for 2012 and found that the parasite was responsible for half the outbreaks of water-borne disease in treated water, which is a substantial rise. Of course, we only discovered this nasty little bugger in pools back in 1988, so it might simply be that we’re getting better at spotting it.
Of course, it could also have discovered that these dumb hoo-mans keep big pools of water behind their homes that it can survive in. That might also be something of a factor.
The good news is that you have relatively low odds of contracting it, for now: Just under 1,800 cases of waterborne illness were reported in 2012. But, if everybody’s sick for a few days after the pool party, consider cleaning your pool with a flamethrower.