Bobbi Pritt, M.D., Discusses Possible Contamination of Microscopic Parasite in Local Pools

Photo by KTTC
Photo by KTTC

According to a recent KTTC news story, Soldiers Field Pool in Rochester, Minnesota; the Aquatic Center in Kasson; and the River Springs Water Park in Owatonna were all closed on Thursday, August 18, due to possible contamination of the microscopic parasite, Cryptosporidium, often referred to as "Crypto."

Crytosporidium is spread from fecal matter and can enter the body if swimmers swallow contaminated water.

"Cryptosporidium is fairly resistant to chlorine. And the next thing you know, your pool is contaminated, and anyone who swims and accidentally ingests some of that water will become infected," said Bobbi Pritt, M.D., Director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic, and expert on parasites. "It doesn't take very many organisms at all to contaminate a whole pool."

The parasite then gets into the intestines, causing watery diarrhea, which can lead to malnutrition.

"For most people, it might last a couple of weeks. It can cause a little bit long-term symptoms. But most people get better on their own. There is a treatment you can use. It's called Nitazoxanide," said Dr. Pritt. Watch the news clip.

To ensure the public's safety, all three locations were closed Thursday. Extra chlorine was added to the water to kill the parasites if they were present. The Kasson Aquatic Center and Soldiers Field Pool were expected to reopen Friday at 7 a.m. and noon, respectively, after water treatment was complete. River Springs Water Park in Owatonna is closed for the remainder of the 2016 season.


Kelley Schreiber

Kelley Schreiber is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her new kitten, and exploring new foods.