General Prevention & Control Measures

Standard Cryptosporidiosis (Crypto) Control Measures for the Childcare Setting

To stop Cryptosporidium from spreading in the childcare setting:

  • Educate staff and parents
    • Inform all staff about the symptoms of Crypto, how infection is spread, and control measures to be followed.
    • Inform parents about the symptoms of Crypto, how infection is spread, outbreak control policies, and needed changes in hygiene and cleanliness.
    • Notify parents of children who have been in direct contact with a child or an adult caregiver with diarrhea. Parents should contact the child’s healthcare provider if their child develops diarrhea.
    • Inform staff and parents of children about Crypto’s potential to be a severe disease in people with weakened immune systems. Immunocompromised persons should consult their healthcare provider for further guidance.
  • Exclude any child with diarrhea from the childcare setting until the diarrhea has stopped.
    • Children who are infected with the parasite but who do not have diarrhea may be allowed to return.
    • Recently returning children can be grouped together in one classroom to minimize exposing uninfected children to the parasite.
    • Move adults with diarrhea to jobs that minimize opportunities for spreading infection (for example, administrative work instead of food preparation).
  • Establish, implement, and enforce policies on water-play and swimming that:
    • Exclude children ill with diarrhea from water-play and swimming activities.
    • Exclude children diagnosed with Crypto from water-play and swimming activities for an additional 2 weeks after their diarrhea has resolved.
    • Discourage children from getting the water in their mouths and swallowing it.
    • Have children and staff wash their hands before using water tables.
    • Have children and staff shower with soap before swimming in the water.
      • If a child is too young to shower independently, have staff wash the child, particularly the rear end, with soap and water.
    • Take frequent bathroom breaks or check their diapers often.
      • Change children’s diapers in a diaper-changing area or bathroom and not by the water.
    • Prohibit the use of temporary inflatable or rigid fill-and-drain swimming pools and slides because they can spread germs in child-care facilities.
  • Practice good hygiene.
    • Good handwashing means:
      1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
      2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
      3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
      4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
      5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
    • For children:
      • Observe handwashing or assist when needed.
      • Wash children’s hands when they first arrive at the childcare facility, after they use the toilet, after having their diapers changed, and before eating snacks or meals.
    • For adults:
      • Wash hands after using the toilet, after helping a child use the toilet, after diapering a child, and before handling or eating food. Note: Where staffing permits, people who change diapers should not prepare or serve food.
  • Reinforce good diapering practices.
    • Separate diaper-changing areas from children’s play and food preparation areas.
    • Use disposable gloves and change them after each diaper change.
    • Use disposable paper over diaper-changing surfaces and change it after each diaper change.
    • Ensure children wear clothing over their diapers to reduce the opportunity for leakage.
    • Wash hands: both yours and the child’s after each diaper change.
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects, including but not limited to bathrooms, diaper-changing areas, food-preparation areas, tabletops, high chairs, and toys.
  • Notify the state or local health department about an excessive level of diarrhea or any Crypto cases in the childcare facility. Crypto is a nationally reportable disease.