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Fredericktown closes city swimming pool

FREDERICKTOWN – The Fredericktown Municipal Pool has been closed because two people who were swimming in the pool have tested positive for the infections Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Both infections are caused by microscopic parasites that are passed through the stool of humans.

“We have two positive cases for two different parasites,” said Jennie Sikes, Environmental Public Health Specialist with the Madison County Health Department. “Both individuals were swimming in the city pool. We don’t know if the parasites are in the pool. We just know that both people were in the pool. It takes a higher than normal level of chlorine to kill the parasites. We are taking precautions for public health reasons.”

According to a press release issued by the Madison County Health Department, the department was notified of the confirmed cases on Aug. 8.

Anyone can contract either parasite. Children who have not yet learned good bathroom and hand washing habits are most at risk. People who swallow water from contaminated sources, such as lakes, rivers, swimming pools or shallow wells are also at risk.

Symptoms of both infections include mild to severe diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever and loss of appetite. Symptoms can come and go over an extended period of time. Symptoms of Giardia can appear from five to 25 days from exposure, but usually within 10 days. Symptoms of Cryptosporidium can appear from one to 12 days from exposure, but usually within seven days. Infected people can pass on the infection to others as soon as the symptoms begin.

The Fredericktown Municipal Pool has been deemed a possible route of exposure to others of the parasites because both parasites can be spread by hand-to-mouth transfer from contaminated body surfaces and may contaminate food or water.

Prevention of the parasites includes practicing good hygiene. This includes thoroughly washing hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds after using the restroom, changing diapers and handling animals and before food preparation. Sanitizing contact surfaces, such as sinks, toilets, counter tops, toys, can be accomplished by using a bleach solution of one teaspoon of bleach to one gallon of water.

It is not known at this time how long the municipal pool will be closed. For more information contact the Madison County Health Department at (573) 783-2747.

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