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Waterborne Parasite Causing Illness and One Possible Death in North Texas

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Outbreaks of a nasty parasite infection in public swimming places in Dallas and Fort Worth have local health officials increasing the chlorine content in many pools in order to control the outbreak.

According to the Dallas Morning News, 123 cases of cryptosporidiosis (also known as Crypto), an infection caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium have been reported in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area since June. The death of a six-year-old girl is being investigated to see if she was a Crypto victim, the newspaper reports.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cryptosporidiosis is the most common waterborne illness in the United States. It is spread through contact with fecal matter, and the parasite can live in the human intestine for long periods of time. Symptoms include cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Dallas-area health officials have recommended that people with compromised immune systems not swim in public pools, the Morning news reports. And, says the newspaper, many municipalities are "hyperchlorinating" their public swimming facilities in an attempt to deter Cryto's spread.

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