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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Toddlers can return to many public swimming pools in Utah -- if they're potty-trained.
Utah health officials eased a ban on young kids in pools Tuesday after finding that illnesses tied to cryptosporidium were slowing down.
Crypto is a parasite that can cause severe diarrhea. For the last four weeks, many Utah counties have banned all kids under 5 from indoor and outdoor pools, at parks, hotels, schools and businesses.
Crypto is found in soil, food, water or surfaces that have been contaminated with human or animal feces. There have been 1,705 cases in Utah this year; 64 people were admitted to hospitals.
Kids under 5 can return to the water if they don't wear diapers, including swim diapers.
"It does look like the measures local health departments put into place are working," said Dr. Robert Rolfs, epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health. "This should ease the burden on many families wanting their potty-trained children to take swim lessons while still prohibiting those likely to have accidents in the pool," he said.
Crypto cases have been reported around the state, but not all counties adopted the pool restrictions. Because of population, Salt Lake and Utah counties have reported the most cases. The state typically sees only 30 a year.
Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, said the public must remain vigilant. "It's important to practice good hygiene," he said. "It remains very important that anybody who has diarrhea not swim for two weeks after the diarrhea symptoms have ended."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)