Crypto: Parasite Could Be Lurking in Your Swimming Pool

Amarillo, Texas

Kristen Guilfoos

Newschannel 10

A nasty intestinal parasite could be lurking in your swimming pool.

If you catch it, Crypto can make you feel like you have severe food poisoning... And those symptoms could last for weeks.

For many, summer is a time to put on sunglasses, lather up in sunscreen, and hit the local pool. But swimmers need to know what they could be jumping into. Paul Johnson owns Splash Amarillo. He says, "It's a big concern." That concern is Crypto... A chlorine-resistant parasite.

Johnson says, "Crypto is basically carried through diarrhea." Which is exactly why Splash Amarillo posts signs around the park saying if you have had diarrhea in the past ten days, you should not get into a public pool.

They also have lifeguards posted at the baby pool, watching, just in case a kid has an accident. "They could drown in that water because it's only 18 inches deep, but it's for watching everything else."

Hundreds of people dive into city of Amarillo pools everyday... People like Casandra Cannon, who comes at least twice a week. "I have four girls, but I usually bring the whole neighborhood, so eight to ten kids."

She's counting on those kids to have fun in clean water. Like Splash, the city is taking preventative steps to make sure that happens.

Lifeguards check chemical levels every two hours and require swim diapers. They tell patrons there's one easy way to keep you and other swimmers crypto-free. "You gotta look at good hygiene and sanitation," says Rod Tweet, the City of Amarillo Assistant Parks and Recreation Director.

That means washing your hands after you go to the bathroom and not changing baby diapers on deck.

But perhaps the best advice is... "Don't drink the pool water."

Crypto has not yet made an appearance in Amarillo. Both Rod and Paul attribute that to their "stop it before it starts" mentality, but they do caution that you need to do your part as well.