A health alert has been issued in Victoria following an increase in cases of a type of gastro — and some of the cases are linked to public swimming pools.
According to Victorian Chief Health Officer Doctor Clare Looker, cases of cryptosporidiosis (crypto) — a bowel infection caused by a parasite — have spiked since the beginning of September.
Similarly to gastroenteritis, symptoms include cramping and abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting and also watery diarrhoea.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
Some people who are infected may not show any symptoms.
Cases tend to increase during the warmer months when more people are swimming and using public pools, with cryptosporidium parasites highly resistant to the levels of chlorine normally found in pools.
New COVID strain classified as ‘variant of interest’
Popular sunscreen sold across Australia urgently recalled
In a statement on the Department of Health’s website, Looker said some of the confirmed cases in Victoria became infected after using public swimming pools, and investigations by public health officials had also revealed some people have been swimming while infectious.
“Swimmers can become infected when they accidentally swallow pool water contaminated with the parasite,” she said.
While most cases of crypto are mild, certain population groups such as children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are more at risk of developing severe illness.
People who think they may have cryptosporidiosis have been urged to see their GP.
Those who have had diarrhoea in the past 14 should not swim, and should not handle food or prepare food for others until at least 48 hours after the diarrhoea has stopped.
For those that do plan on swimming in public pools, they should avoid swallowing pool water.