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Health Officials Urge Shock Treatment For Wake Pools To Treat For Parasite

A picture of a competition swimming pool.
Shock treating public pools can help limit the spreak of cryptosporidium.

Wake County is encouraging its 1,600 public pools to shock treat their water to kill a diarrhea-causing parasite.

Twenty cases of cryptosporidiosishave been reported to the county health department. The diarrhea disease is caused by a parasite that can spread if contaminated water gets in a person's mouth. Other symptoms can include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever and can last one to two weeks.

Wake Environmental Health and Safety Director Andre Pierce is urging public pools to shock-treat their water with chlorine.

"If a pool has had a confirmed person who's been sick with crypto, we're requiring the pool close and hyperchlorinate, and then once the pool has been disinfected, the pool may reopen," said Pierce, adding that it can be done in a number of hours.

The Centers For Disease Control offers guidelines for hyper-chlorinating a pool to kill crypto and other bacteria.

Pierce's office is also posting signs urging people not to go swimming for two weeks after a diarrheal infection.

"The signage is equally important if not more important than the disinfection, because it's better to prevent it than to try to come back and treat for it," he said.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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