Salt Lake County public health officials are urging Utahns to help keep pools clean and safe this summer, concerned about a possible outbreak of illnesses caused by cryptosporidium.
Germs from the parasites, highly infectious and chlorine resistant, come from fecal matter and can cause diarrhea for as long as two to three weeks.
"Crypto outbreaks tend to be cyclic, and we haven't seen a large outbreak in a few years," said Pam Davenport, communications manager at the Salt Lake County Health Department.
On Friday, officials held their annual swim season kickoff at the Taylorsville Recreation Center, reminding residents to follow these tips:
• Don't swim if you have diarrhea; stay out of pools for two weeks after recovering.
• Don't swallow pool water.
• Shower with soap and water before swimming.
• Make sure children take hourly bathroom breaks while swimming. Check swim diapers every 30 minutes. Change diapers in a bathroom, not poolside.
• Wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet, changing a diaper, and before eating or preparing food.
• Report any fecal accidents in pools immediately.
In 2007, Utah had the largest outbreak in the nation, with 1,900 reported cases instead of the average 15 cases seen in previous years. While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warned outbreaks typically repeat in subsequent years, there were no pool-related cases the following summer.
In 2012, the state had 88 cases connected to recreational water exposure between January and mid-October. Possible Salt Lake County cases can be reported at slvhealth.org/crypto.