LONDON, June 4 (UPI) -- British health investigators said they are trying to find the source of the parasite Cryptosporidium, which has made more than 260 people ill.
Cryptosporidium is usually associated with contained swimming pools, lakes and food -- contaminated by human or animal feces -- but no source has been identified for the outbreak that made hundreds sick in North East, Yorkshire, West and East Midlands, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Dr. Stephen Morton, investigation leader for the Health Protection Agency, said the cases turned up earlier in the year than normal and are double the number usually expected.
Doctors in the areas where the sickness has been reported have been briefed on the outbreak and they will help health officials track any further illness, Morton said.
Cryptosporidiosis causes diarrhea, stomach cramps, dehydration, weight loss and fever and can last for at least a month or more. The infection can be life threatening in the very young and the elderly, but most people affected in this recent outbreak have been mostly age 15 to 45, Morton said.