Although the food supply in Tennessee and the rest of the nation is remarkably safe, food-borne illnesses still occur. Recently, Knox County health care officials reportedly noticed an increase in the number of parasitic diseases that may be spread through food and other methods. Cryptosporidium can be transmitted through food that was prepared by someone who was infected, baby changing tables, surfaces that were not sufficiently disinfected, and person-to person interactions. Since the parasite is apparently resistant to chlorine, it may also be spread through swimming pools and other wet areas.
Unfortunately, the parasite, which causes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, may be able to live on surfaces for up to one week. In addition, it generally takes about one month for the parasite to clear a person’s body. Symptoms of cryptosporidium may include massive amounts of diarrhea, which can result in the need for hospitalization. Children are especially prone to becoming dehydrated from the parasite.