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72 affected by illness from southeast Minnesota campground pool

ST. PAUL-- On August 3, Forum News Service reported 3 people who were affected by a cryptosporidiosis outbreak at the Shades of Sherwood Campground near the southeastern Minnesota community of Zumbrota.

Health officials now say the number of affected people has increased to at least 72 as of Thursday, August 9.

The pool owner has taken the following precautions since the outbreak first occurred:

• The swimming pool was temporarily closed and hyper-chlorinated to kill any existing Cryptosporidium. The pool has since reopened.

• The campground posted signs at the pool warning visitors to not swim for two weeks if they have been ill with diarrhea.

• The campground closed the man-made water pond, referred to as a water park, to swimming. The pond is constructed in such a way that it cannot be effectively treated to remove Cryptosporidium or other pathogens.

According to the first news release on August 2: "Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis often include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss and low-grade fever. People typically become ill about a week after exposure, but this can range from two to 14 days. Most people recover in one to two weeks, but they will continue to shed the parasite in their stools for at least two weeks after symptoms end. Approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of cases require hospitalization for their illness. Illness can be especially severe or prolonged in people with weakened immune systems."

Health officials urge people to visit their health care provider if they experience these symptoms, especially if they visited Shades of Sherwood Campground.

About 350 to 450 cases cryptosporidiosis are diagnosed in Minnesota each year. The parasite can survive outside of the body for extended periods of time and is highly resistant to chlorine.