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Tuesday - April 17, 2018 12:57 am

La Crosse County health warns of diarrheal outbreak caused by parasite in animal feces

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Four people in La Crosse County have become sick with a bug that's rare in this region.

It’s an outbreak related to an animal feces parasite called Cryptosporidiosis.

It is caused by a parasite that winds up in the feces of domestic animals and humans, causing "profuse watery diarrhea and abdominal cramping. It can also be accompanied by nausea, loss of appetite, headache and fever. It can be acquired from contaminated drinking water, drinking raw milk, (along with) animal-to-person or person-to-person contact via food handling."

The best way to keep it from spreading further, says the county health department is simply by washing your hands with soap.

In Milwaukee 25 years ago a major outbreak of the intestinal illness was connected to contamination in the public water system. The Cryptosporidiosis infection was blamed for more than 100 deaths then.

There are eight cases so far in Wisconsin. Four more have been detected elsewhere, connected to the La Crosse County cases.

Carol Drury, the environmental health manager for La Crosse County, believes the illness has been contained here, but she warns about cleaning up after being around animals.

People with cryptosporidiosis might still have the parasite in their intestines for weeks after experiencing the illness.

WIZM staff

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