Running Head: PUBLIC HEALTH GAME 1
PUBLIC HEALTH GAME 5
Public Health Game
Public Health Game
After playing the public health discovery game, the identified disease was diarrhea disease known as cryptosporidiosis caused by the Cryptosporidium parasite. The disease and the parasite are commonly referred to as “crypto”. Playing the game was very interesting and I got to learn a lot from it. The game is about some people who are getting sick with diarrhea and the center of epidemiology in that area call me to do some test in the water to see what the cause of the problem is. The reason for testing the water is because it was likely to be contaminated. There was no other suspicious thing that could have resulted in the outbreak. Apart from testing the water that the infected people had been drinking, I also tested their stool samples.
Testing for this disease was very difficult for me. I had to collect multiple samples from the patients over some time because one sample was not enough to give reliable results. I examined the specimen microscopically using the acid fast-staining technique. I was given a map of the area and I got to interview some of the residents in the area where the outbreak had occurred. The people I interviewed revealed to me where they had been in the past days following the outbreak. The main reason for this was to establish whether there was a commonplace that the infected people had been to. This would give me a good indicator of the source of the problem. I managed to go to the places that had been identified by everybody who had gotten sick and did some labs. After some time, the results came out. When results came back it is big news. I was not very shocked because I had suspected that it had something to do with infected water.
Their results indicated that there was a positive parasite Cryptosporidium in the sample I took from the fountain near the beach, where a lot of people got sick. The biggest problem is that water runs off, carries a lot of chemicals into the lake and water supplies. Phosphorous is commonly found in land fertilizers. After a few nice warm days, algae start to pop up all over the place. Unfortunately, algae can be toxic to fish, pets, and swimmers. The problems found were heavy rains, water runoffs from cattle farms, parasites in the well and malfunctioning fountain filter. So, the Cryptosporidium parasite was in the well-made everyone that drank from the fountain sick. The symptoms the infected people had also matched those of cryptosporidiosis. These symptoms were stomach cramps, watery diarrhea, nausea, dehydration, vomiting, fever, and weight-loss. Other people were infected but did not show any symptoms. Those who experienced symptoms said that their symptoms lasted between one to two weeks. Other people had a reoccurrence of symptoms shortly after they had recovered from the disease. In some cases, the symptoms can come and go for about 30 days (Pumipuntu, & Piratae, 2018).
Cryptosporidium infections mainly attack the small intestines and in immunocompromised persons, the infection could spread to other parts of the digestive tract as well as the respiratory tract. In rare cases, the illness can be chronic and even fatal. Those with healthy immune systems were able to recover from the disease without any treatment.
We all work together to identify and take care of the problems. Since the cause of the disease had already been identified, it was not very challenging to come up with a solution. The infected people were advised to consume a lot of fluids to replace the water lost from the body through diarrhea. The anti-diarrhea medication was recommended for people who had weak immune systems especially pregnant women and infants. “Nitazoxanide has been FDA-approved for the treatment of diarrhea caused by Cryptosporidium in people with healthy immune systems and is available by prescription. However, the effectiveness of nitazoxanide in immunosuppressed individuals is unclear” (Pumipuntu, & Piratae, 2018).
The residents were advised to always boil water before drinking to kill the parasite. The management in the area promised to find ways of purifying drinking water for its residents and they were also advised to practice food sanitation to prevent the spread of the disease. “Several community-wide outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis have been linked to drinking municipal water or recreational water contaminated with Cryptosporidium” (Gharpure, et.al, 2019).
That was all, then, the epidemiology center thanked me and they are going to solve the problem. I was happy that I had managed to help solve a disease outbreak. This was a big accomplishment for me.
Gharpure, R., Perez, A., Miller, A. D., Wikswo, M. E., Silver, R., & Hlavsa, M. C. (2019). Cryptosporidiosis Outbreaks—the United States, 2009–2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 68(25), 568.
Ryan, U., Hijjawi, N., & Xiao, L. (2018). Foodborne cryptosporidiosis. International journal for parasitology, 48(1), 1-12.
Pumipuntu, N., & Piratae, S. (2018). Cryptosporidiosis: A zoonotic disease concern. Veterinary World, 11(5), 681.