Summer ends Thursday but cases of a diarrhoeal disease continue to rise in Delaware County and central Ohio as the Delaware General Health District responds to the outbreak.
There are 751 confirmed and probable cases of cryptosporidiosis, or crypto, from the three jurisdictions of public health in central Ohio — the city of Columbus; and Franklin and Delaware counties — according to Traci Whittaker, spokeswoman for the Delaware health district.
“Due to multiple swim histories, it’s difficult to confirm case locations,” she said in an email.
Crypto is a germ that can cause diarrhea and is found in the waste of an infected person. It can be spread by swallowing contaminated water and from human-to-human contact.
There are now 83 total cases in Delaware County including 42 confirmed cases, and up from 59 total cases reported as of Sept. 9.
The city of Columbus has 435 cases and Franklin County has 233.
Popular outdoor swim attractions including Zoombezi Bay and the Jack Florence Pool at Mingo Park have closed for the season as of Labor Day. An outbreak was reported at the water park in Powell last month.
The Spray and Play at Veterans Park in the city of Delaware is now running on special hours. The city changed the splash pad’s hours Tuesday to 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.
“There’s still a lot of demand,” said Roger Hanafin, YMCA executive director.
The end date for the splash pad is Sept. 30, said Ted Miller, parks and natural resources director, but the pad may close earlier if colder temperatures arrive before the month ends.
The splash pad also uses fresh water and doesn’t recycle it like swimming pools, he added.
Symptoms of the illness, which can last two weeks, include watery diarrhea with abdominal pain and cramping, which can be accompanied by dehydration, weight loss, fever, nausea and vomiting. Those infected can continue to spread the disease for several weeks after diarrhea subsides.
Public health officials are calling for safety measures residents can take to reduce the spread of the illness.
Public officials recommend the following safety measures to reduce the spread of the illness when heading to a spray fountain, pool or water park:
• Do not swim when you have diarrhea and for two weeks after you have recovered.
• Do not relieve yourself in the water.
• Take a shower/bathe before going in the water.
• Wash hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before eating.
• Change diapers in a bathroom and not by a pool.
• Take children on frequent bathroom breaks and check diapers often.
• Avoid swallowing any water and keep it out of your mouth.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.