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Outbreak of parasitic illness sickens 3 who visited Minnesota campground

More may be at risk from cryptosporidiosis, a common cause of waterborne illness.

State health authorities wanted to hear from people who stayed at a Zumbrota campground in July after an outbreak of a parasite that causes waterborne illness.

The Minnesota Department of Health has linked illnesses suffered by 3 people back to the Shades of Sherwood Campground and Waterpark, about 50 miles southeast of St. Paul.

These people had been infected with cryptosporidiosis, know as "crypto," which is a parasite that spreads when people come into contact with infected fecal matter from another person or animal.

One of the three people required hospitalization after coming down with the illness. One was also infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

To try and identify the source of the crypto infection, MDH wants to hear from anyone who was at the Shades of Sherwood throughout the month of July, regardless of if they've been ill or not.

They should call the MDH Waterborne Diseases Unit at 651-201-5794.

Crypto is a common cause of waterborne disease, with symptoms including watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss and a low-grade fever.

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Most recover in 1-2 weeks, but the parasite remains in their stools for at least two weeks after recovery. Around 10-15 percent of cases require hospitalization.

The parasite is able to survive outside the human body for long periods of time and is highly resistant to chlorine – so anyone with symptoms should avoid swimming for two weeks after symptoms stop.

MDH says 350-450 cases of crypto are diagnosed in Minnesota each year. 

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