State Extends Pool Restrictions

State Extends Pool Restrictions

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- After more than 1,300 illnesses, health officials Tuesday extended a ban on toddlers in public swimming pools to try to stop cryptosporidium, a parasite that can cause severe diarrhea.

The ban on kids under 5 and anyone in diapers will remain through Sept. 25 at pools at parks, schools, apartments, hotels and amusement parks.

Since Aug. 28, when restrictions were first announced, cases continue to be reported in "substantial numbers," the Utah Department of Health said.

"Public-health officials have been unable to determine whether the restrictions have been effective in controlling the outbreak," the department said.

Crypto is found in soil, food, water or surfaces that have been contaminated with human or animal feces. Diapers in a swimming pool are a common way to spread it, but they are not the only way. "If you have a family member who is sick, it's important to practice good hygiene so the illness is not spread from person to person," said Ilene Risk, a manager at the Salt Lake Valley Health Department.

Utah typically sees about 30 cases of crypto a year. So far this year: 1,302.

There have been 492 cases in Salt Lake County and 454 in Utah County, said Rich Lakin, state manager of disease investigation.

At least 39 people have been treated at hospitals, "but we don't know for how long," he said. "Most probably were dehydrated."

Cases have been reported around the state, but not all counties are adopting the pool restrictions.

There is no ban on kids under 5 at pools in Daggett, Duchesne, Uintah, Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington counties, said state health spokesman Tom Hudachko.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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