CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The Caldwell County Health Department is notifying residents of an increase in cryptosporidiosis, commonly known as “Crypto.”   

Health officials said the disease is caused by microscopic parasites called cryptosporidium, which can be found on surfaces, including hands, or in food and water that have been contaminated with human or animal feces infected with the parasite. 

Symptoms generally begin two to 10 days after being infected with the parasite, health officials explained. The most common symptom is watery diarrhea, which typically lasts one to two weeks, the CCHD said.

Thorough handwashing is the best prevention for crypto, health officials said. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not effective. 

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While health officials did not specify how large of an increase they are currently seeing, they are encouraging residents to be aware of the increase and to take preventative measures.

People should always wash their hands: 

  • After going to the bathroom  
  • Before preparing foods, eating, or drinking 
  • After taking off dirty clothes or shoes  
  • After touching animals or their living area
  • After leaving the animal area

When washing hands, remember to: 

  • Wet hands with clean, running water.
  • Apply soap.
  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub well, including backs of hands, between and under fingernails.
  • Rub hands at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse hands. 
  • Dry hands using a clean paper towel or air dry them.