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Rapid Increase in Cryptosporidiosis Cases Prompts Health Alert in Ipswich



Rapid Increase In Cryptosporidiosis Cases Prompts Health Alert In Ipswich

A health alert has been issued in Ipswich following a rise in ‘Cryptosporidiosis’ or ‘gastro’ cases in the region.

There have been 520 cases reported in the West Moreton Health District this year alone, indicating a concerning trend.

Typically, Queensland Health receives around 500 cases of cryptosporidiosis each year, but the number of cases reported in January alone this year exceeded 700, more than 13 times higher than the previous year.

Cryptosporidiosis is a gastrointestinal disease caused by a microscopic parasite and is a common cause of acute diarrhea, particularly in young children.

Dr Penny Hutchinson from the West Moreton Public Health Unit stated that it is not uncommon to observe an increase in cases during the warmer months when people spend more time in public pools and lakes.

The infection is usually linked to swimming pools, water parks, and other recreational water facilities, where the water can become contaminated with fecal matter.

Common symptoms of cryptosporidiosis include persistent diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

To prevent the spread of the disease, authorities are advising people to practice good hygiene habits such as showering before and after swimming, avoiding swallowing water, changing diapers away from swimming areas, and regular handwashing.

According to Queensland Chief Health Officer John Gerrard, the parasite can also be transmitted through contact with infected people or animals and by consuming contaminated food or water.

He highlighted the importance of thorough handwashing after using the toilet, changing diapers, and handling animal feces to minimize the transmission of the disease.

Gerrard further advised that individuals with diarrhea, especially children, should refrain from returning to daycare or school until the symptoms have ceased for 24 hours.

In addition, he mentioned the risk of the parasite in animals such as cattle, sheep, dogs, and cats.

To reduce the risk of infection, people are encouraged to wash fruits and vegetables before consumption, boil untreated water before drinking, and avoid swimming in natural bodies of water within a week of heavy rainfall.

The increase in cryptosporidiosis cases is not limited to Ipswich, as both New South Wales and Victoria have recently reported similar surges.

With the rising number of cases, it is crucial for residents to prioritize their health and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

Rachel Adams

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