Is An Outbreak In Ottawa County Contagious For the Rest of Michigan?
An outbreak has infected three volunteer workers at The Critter Barn in Ottawa County, but is this a contagious infection the rest of the state should be concerned about?
What is The Critter Barn?
The Critter Barn is located in Zeeland at 2950 80th Street. It all started in 1984 and not long after opening the barn to the public so they can see and learn about farm animals, school field trips started making their way to the barn. Now over 100,000 people visit the barn a year.
Kids come to visit and learn about animals and farming and their impact on humans and the role they play in our sustainability.
3 Volunteer Workers at The Critter Barn Were Infected With a Parasite
Three volunteers that work at the Critter Barn recently reported becoming very ill. The volunteers were tested and it turns out they were infected with Cryptosporidium.
What is Cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis, also known as "Crypto." Symptoms of Crypto include cramps or pain in the stomach, dehydration, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.
The parasite is most commonly found in water that is near farm animals. It is something Ottawa County is not a stranger to Crypto because they often report several cases a year in the region.
According to WOOD, the Ottawa County Health Department is now investigating the outbreak and working on a plan to clean the area the infections occurred. If you recently visited the Critter Barn and feel ill you should see a doctor.
Can Cryptosporidium Spread From Human to Human?
Unfortunately, Cryptosporidiosis can be very contagious. An infected person can infect others when symptoms begin and for several weeks after the symptoms disappear even if there are no symptoms present. Crypto can be life-threatening for people with a weak immune system.