Archive for Sunday, October 14, 2007

Officials investigate 70 cases of illness

October 14, 2007

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— An outbreak of a water- and food-borne illness that causes diarrhea continues to spread in Wichita, health officials said Friday.

Officials said there are 70 confirmed and probable cases of cryptosporidiosis, with several of the cases involving children in day care.

Officials have asked parents of children with symptoms to keep the children out of day-care until they can be tested for the disease.

Health officials also are asking restaurants to keep employees with crypto symptoms away from food-preparation areas. And families are being asked to be especially careful when handling food and changing diapers.

Kay Johnson, Wichita's director of environmental services, said the best advice for curbing the disease's spread is frequent hand-washing.

Crypto is a very contagious disease that is transferred through fecal matter. Because it is chlorine-resistant, it is often spread through swimming pools.

When the initial outbreak was announced six weeks ago, swimmers were warned not to swallow pool or lake water. Those experiencing crypto symptoms were asked to refrain from swimming until two weeks after the diarrhea has stopped.

Those who contract crypto typically experience weeklong bouts of diarrhea. Other symptoms include dehydration, weight loss, stomach cramps or pain, fever, nausea and vomiting.

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