Clark, Champaign counties hit by outbreak linked to parasite, calves

Clark and Champaign County health experts are investigating an outbreak of possibly 23 cases of Cryptosporidiosis in humans that’s been linked to dairy calves purchased as 4-H projects.

Three human cases have been confirmed, nine cases are probable and 11 cases are suspected in both Clark and Champaign counties, Clark County Combined Health District Epidemiologist Anna Jean Petroff said. The disease is unlikely to cause any human fatalities, she said.

HEALTH NEWS: Clark State, Mercy partner on new clinic to serve campus, community

The Clark County district is working together with the Champaign Health District and Ohio State University Extension Office are working together on the investigation.

The parasite has been linked to a group of dairy feeder calves brought into Clark County to sell for fair projects, said Larry Shaffer, Clark County director of environmental health. The majority of the cases are in Clark County, Shaffer said. The people affected are located in the northwest portion of Clark County, he said.

Cryptosporidiosis is an infection with the microscopic parasite, Cryptosporidium, which is found in soil, food, water or surfaces that have been contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals.

All of the calves in Clark County have died, Shaffer said, while some calves in Champaign County are sick but are still alive. It’s unclear how many calves died but it’s estimated to be between seven and 22, he said.

The primary symptom in humans is watery diarrhea, Shaffer said. Other symptoms include stomach cramps or pain and fever. Symptoms will appear about two to 10 days after exposure to the parasite and can last about one to two weeks.

SPECIAL REPORT: Healthy Springfield

It also can be easily misdiagnosed as the flu, Shaffer said. People with illnesses must let doctors know they’ve been around livestock recently to help doctors with a diagnosis, he said.

“We’ve reached out to the medical community to make sure they’re aware there’s an outbreak (of Crypto) in Clark County so they can make a better diagnosis,” he said.

People exposed to the parasite can be contagious for several weeks after symptoms disappear. The parasite can be spread person-to-person easily because the method of transmission is fecal-oral, Petroff said.

“If you don’t wash your hands properly after going to the bathroom or after changing a child’s diaper and then you go prepare food, it’s really easy to transmit it to other people,” she said.

People also must watch their hands thoroughly and remove clothes and shoes once returning home after being around livestock, Shaffer said.

READ MORE: Clark County health district tips to avoid getting the flu

The illness is common, Shaffer said, and is typically associated with public water venues, such as pools or water parks.

In 2016, Ohio health officials identified 1,940 people sick with cryptosporidiosis, also known as Crypto, which represented a 386 percent increase from the median number of cases (399) reported from 2012 through 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC also reported 24 Crypto-related outbreaks — or multiple cases in one location — in Ohio in 2016, and at least 10 of those outbreaks were associated with aquatic venues.

To stop the spread of the illness, the health district recommends using a 3-percent hydrogen peroxide solution, Shaffer said. People must scrub possibly contaminated surfaces — such as bathrooms, diaper changing stations or kitchen surface — and soak them for 20 minutes before washing the solution away with clean water, he said. Chlorine beach and other common disinfectants aren’t effective against Crypto, Petroff said.

“3-percent hydrogen peroxide is the only recommended method of cleaning hard surfaces,” she said.


Springfield commission goals include housing study, fixing roads

Should Springfield fluoridate its drinking water?

Study calls for new bike trail, safer park crossing in Clark County

Local officials look for options to improve housing stock

Springfield leaders to discuss changes to requirements for landlords

Reader Comments

Next Up in Community News

Government shutdown could still impact more than 400 local jobs
Government shutdown could still impact more than 400 local jobs

While a partial government shutdown would likely have little impact on Wright-Patterson, more than 400 federal employees in the region could still be affected. A quarter of the federal government could shut down just before Christmas if lawmakers don’t agree on a spending bill. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is not expected to close if President...
Richmond school shooting: Suspect took hostage before attack, mom called in 911 tip
Richmond school shooting: Suspect took hostage before attack, mom called in 911 tip

We are continuing to investigate a Richmond, Ind., school shooting where a 14-year-old male died after exchanging gunfire with police. Here’s what we know so far: Police tipped about “potential violent act” at Dennis Intermediate School The teen fired at a door to get inside, then exchanged gunfire with police The teen died of...
Caught on camera: Florida 14-year-old accused of leading police on car chase
Caught on camera: Florida 14-year-old accused of leading police on car chase

A Florida teenager has been charged, accused of driving a stolen car and leading a police on a chase through the streets of Hudson, Florida. The chase was caught on camera.  The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said the teen came into the sales office of a car lot and took the keys to a 2015 Mazda 6, WTVT reported.  The teen then backed...
Police: Springfield Family Dollar burglary caught on camera
Police: Springfield Family Dollar burglary caught on camera

Springfield police are investigating a burglary at a Springfield Family Dollar. Police were called to the store on South Limestone Street on Wednesday and met with a representative. There, they found that electronic items had been taken including a Bluetooth speaker, a gaming headset, a massage pillow and earmuffs. MORE: Police: Springfield kids lived...
Bear attacks Pennsylvania woman outside her home
Bear attacks Pennsylvania woman outside her home

A Pennsylvania woman is in critical condition after being attacked by a bear. Game wardens in Lycoming County are trying to figure out how it happened. >> Read more trending news  Melinda Lebarron was attacked by a bear outside her home near Muncy. Chris Krebs, a state game warden, told WNEP, "We're looking into the circumstances...
More Stories