Anyone who has recently had diarrhea is urged to stay away from beaches and the pool to avoid spreading a parasitic disease.
NSW Health has urged those who have had diarrhea not to go swimming for at least two weeks afterwards.
The disease, cryptosporidiosis, is caused by a parasite that infects the intestine and is best known for causing watery diarrhea and stomach cramps.
The illness can also cause fever, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, although nothing is guaranteed.
It is a common cause of acute diarrhea in young children, especially those under ten years of age.
There have been 498 cases of cryptosporidiosis reported in New South Wales so far in 2024. The same period has a five-year average of 95 cases, which represents a sharp increase.
To avoid contracting the parasite, swimmers have been warned not to go swimming after heavy rain at beaches and waterways. The increase in cases worries health authorities
Health Protection NSW chief executive Dr Jeremy McAnulty said people often contract the disease by swimming and swallowing water containing these parasites, called Cryptosporidium.
This can include pools where multiple children will spend time in the same water.
“The parasite survives for many days, even in chlorinated pools, and in the past there have been very large outbreaks when people who had recently been infected went swimming,” Dr McAnulty said.
“Almost half of the cases reported this year occurred in swimming during the exposure period, and with such a high proportion of young children affected and with many schools about to hold swimming carnivals, we urge parents to remain vigilant to the symptoms”.
Cryptosporidiosis cases in Queensland are even higher, with more than 823 infections recorded recently compared to 56 cases in January 2023.
NSW Health recommended that once symptoms resolve, people with diarrhea should also avoid sharing towels for two weeks and handling food for 48 hours. Children should also stay away from schools and areas with other children for 24 hours after the diarrhea has stopped.
To avoid contracting the disease, people should wash their hands regularly, avoid swallowing water, and avoid swimming in waterways and beaches after heavy rain.
Boiling water is one method to effectively kill the Cryptosporidium parasite.
You can find more information in the New South Wales Health Website.
People have been urged not to go swimming for two weeks after having diarrhea as they can spread the disease (file image)