- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is investigating an outbreak of a diarrheal illnesses caused by a parasite.

Health officials are advising the public to take precautions to prevent further spread of the disease.

Nineteen cases were reported to public health officials in July and five of the initial interviews have been linked to recreational water facilities. The investigation is ongoing.

Cryptosporidium - also known as Crypto - is typically spread in swimming pools or other recreational water when an infected person swims or plays in the water, contaminating the water with fecal matter.

Although chlorine kills most germs in swimming pools, health officials say Crypto can survive in properly chlorinated water for long periods of time.

Outbreaks have also been associated with petting zoos that include contaminated livestock.

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