Parasite forces temporary closure of public pool in Wake County

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Town of Wake Forest has temporarily closed Holding Park Aquatic Center after health officials learned a person who contracted a highly contagious parasite at another location visited the pool before showing symptoms.

Cryptosporidium, or crypto for short, is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The parasite can be spread when an infected person, most often a child, swims too soon after having a case of diarrhea.

As a precautionary measure, the aquatic center was closed Thursday and workers began the process of hyper-chlorination to disinfect the pool.

There is no timetable on when the aquatic center will reopen.

RELATED: What you should know about cryptosporidium (.pdf)

"As a precaution, we voluntarily closed the facility to hyper-chlorinate the pools according to CDC guidelines and under the guidance of the Wake County Environmental Health & Safety Department," said Ruben Wall, director of the Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department.

Wall said the department is taking proactive steps to ensure all spaces and supplies are thoroughly disinfected and pose no safety risk.

"We are treating this with the utmost precaution and transparency," he said. "To protect ourselves from crypto, the best thing we can do is not swallow the water we swim in. We want to keep crypto out of the pool in the first place, and the way we do that is not to swim or let our children swim when they're sick with diarrhea."

This is not the first time crypto has affected Wake County pools. Two dozen cases of the gastrointestinal disease popped up in Wake County in 2016, mostly at public pools in north Raleigh.

A recent report said that there's a nearly 13 percent increase in crypto every year between 2009-2017.
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