The Cape May County Health Department on Friday reported four confirmed cases of cryptosporidium and 11 probable cases of the intestinal illness in the county.
Cryptosporidium, also known as crypto, is caused by a parasite and can be spread in various ways, including drinking water, eating contaminated food or when a person touches their mouth with contaminated hands, according to a statement from Cape May County officials.
The illness is different from a stomach flu, which is a viral infection.
The first case was reported to the Atlantic County Health Department on March 23, officials said on Friday. Atlantic County health officials reported the case to Cape May County and identified Misty Meadows Farm in Cape May County as a “possible source of the infection,” according to the statement.
Cape May County also reported its first case the same day.
“Both the Atlantic County case and Cape May County cases identified Misty Meadow Farm as a common location visited within the infection period. Part of the investigation is to identify possible sources of infection. The positive cases all identified Misty Meadows Farms as a place visited within the infection period, and it is the only location that all positive cases had in common,” Cape May County health officials said in a statement.
“Following this finding, Misty Meadows Farm eagerly implemented all mitigation procedures requested by the Cape May County Department of Health, including installing hand-washing stations, installing signage, and providing visitor education,” the statement added. “As a result, the Department of Health determined that no further action was necessary, and never found a need to close Misty Meadows Farm.”
“The county is satisfied that with guests practicing safe hygiene, Misty Meadows Farm is a safe place for the public to visit,” Cape May County officials said.
Health officials did not release additional details about the infections. A representative from the farm could not be immediately reached to comment late Friday.
Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis include watery diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, which generally occur within two to 10 days of infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More details about the illness are available on the CDC and New Jersey Department of Health website.
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