As Columbus and Dublin last week closed their public swimming pools amid a two-county outbreak of cryptosporidiosis, Upper Arlington was ramping up its sanitation efforts at Devon Pool, even though the disease had not been found at the facility.

As Columbus and Dublin last week closed their public swimming pools amid a two-county outbreak of cryptosporidiosis, Upper Arlington was ramping up its sanitation efforts at Devon Pool, even though the disease had not been found at the facility.

Franklin County Public Health warned Aug. 18 that the number of crypto cases in Columbus and in Franklin and Delaware counties had risen to at least 202 -- more than the last four years combined -- and asked communities throughout its service areas to "hyper-chlorinate" their respective swimming facilities.

As a result, the city of Columbus announced all of its pools would be closed Aug. 19, and Dublin officials said their pools would be closed until further notice.

In Upper Arlington, Aquatics Manager Lee Spitzer said his staff is taking proactive measures to stave off crypto and to ensure swimmers aren't endangered by those efforts.

"At the end of the season, we're raising the chlorine level more than we normally would at Devon Pool just because we're trying to be preventative," Spitzer said. "We're also required (by state code) to check chlorine levels four times a day, but there are times we're checking it hourly just to make sure we're at safe levels."

According to Franklin County Public Health, crypto is caused by a parasite. One of the symptoms is diarrhea.

The parasite is found in the fecal matter of a person who has been infected; it is spread by swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter containing crypto or from human-to-human contact.

A crypto "exposure" was found at Upper Arlington's Reed Road Water Park, according to the county agency. Spitzer said the city hyper-chlorinated the facility Aug. 12.

"An exposure means we don't know if (individuals) got crypto there, but we do know they were at that location during their illness," said Mitzi Kline, Franklin County Public Health communications director. "Most people named being at multiple recreation water locations, so, it's hard to pinpoint any one location."

Reed Road Water Park was closed for the season Aug. 16, but Spitzer said that was because of staffing shortages, and not for public health concerns.

"Hyper-chlorination cleans the pools now," Kline said. Basically ... it starts everything over. As soon as people are back in there, crypto can come back."

Spitzer said he hasn't had to close any local facilities due to crypto being found, but noted that the opening of Devon was delayed until 1:30 p.m. Aug. 15 because the chlorine levels were too high for swimming.

He added that in his 51 years of working at pools, he hasn't seen an outbreak like this one.

"(Crypto) is something that for as long as I've been involved in pools, this is kind of a recent phenomenon and I don't know why," he said.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

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