Diarrhoea bug outbreak widens to hundreds of cases in the South West

Cryptosporidium parvum Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes extreme diarrhoea

An outbreak of a sickness and diarrhoea bug in the South West of England has widened to 223 cases.

Public Health England (PHE) said the majority of cases of the cryptosporidium bug confirmed since the beginning of June were in Wiltshire.

Other cases have been identified in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Somerset, Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

The Oasis leisure centre swimming pool in Swindon remains closed after a number of cases were linked to it.

PHE said there had now been 34 cases confirmed in the Swindon Borough Council area, 27 in Wiltshire Council's area and 31 in Gloucestershire.

A total of 131 cases in the rest of the South West include 23 in Somerset, 20 in Devon and 19 in Bristol.

An investigation into the source of the predominantly waterborne disease is continuing, a spokesperson said.

Image caption The swimming pool at the Oasis leisure centre in Swindon remains closed

Dr Toyin Ejidokun, from PHE South West, said "appropriate control measures" were being taken to help prevent further cases.

"Cryptosporidiosis is predominantly a waterborne disease and infection can be caused by drinking contaminated water or swallowing contaminated water in swimming pools or streams.

"It can also be acquired by animal and human contact."

She added that the anyone could get cryptosporidiosis, but it is "most common in young children aged between one and five years".

"We have had confirmed reports of Cryptosporidium infection amongst a number of people who visited the Oasis swimming pool in Swindon earlier this summer.

"The swimming pool is one of a number of possible exposures that we are exploring.

"At this point, there is no confirmed source of exposure."

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