Parasite on the rise in Duval County

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A dangerous parasite is making its mark in Florida and children are those most at risk.

The parasite is called Cryptosporidium and it spreads through the feces from an infected person.

Dr. Brian Stephens of Little Black Bag Medicine says the parasite has been in Duval County for several years.

“It not only affects humans but dogs and cats too. And it’s a very tough parasite,” said Stephens.

The parasite cannot be killed by normal decontamination methods, such as chlorine.

“So what happens is, it gets into the (gastrointestinal) tract into the stomach, it has its part in its life cycle, it sheds spores and then those spores are passed through the feces and they it gets into pools and bodies of water and lakes and streams,” said Stephens.

When it gets into the mouth of another person, the cycle continues. So far this year, cases have just about tripled compared to 2013. In Duval County, there are 65 cases to date.

“It’s a lot more common in children,” said Stephens. “[First] because there is a lot of touching and putting hands in their mouth and not washing them properly, as well as swimming in swimming pools that may or may not be contaminated.”

If you feel nausea or vomiting, then you should avoid getting in any body of water. Dr. Stephens says if your child has diarrhea, you want to head to your doctor. In rare cases, the parasite can be deadly.

“Generally speaking for health people, [no, it is not fatal] but for small children it can be deadly if they get dehydrated, so we need to keep them hydrated,” said Stephens.

Doctor Stephens says it can also be fatal for those with compromised immune systems.

So what can you do to prevent it?

Stephens says you should wash hands with water instead of sanitizer.

“Hand sanitizer is not going to destroy this organism or get rid of it. This is going to be something that you are going to need to wash off with soap and water. The act of rubbing your hands together helps to rid the organism off your hands,” said Stephens.

It is also important to change your child’s diapers more frequently, and if you have any symptoms, don’t jump in any body of water.

Commonly recognized vehicles or mechanisms of transmission include:

  1. Contact with infected persons (i.e., those in the same household or child care) or infected animals (e.g., young livestock)
  2. Drinking fecally-contaminated and inadequately treated water
  3. Ingesting fecally-contaminated recreational water (rivers, lakes, etc.)
  4. Eating food contaminated by animals or food handlers (rarely documented)

The most common symptom of Cryptosporidiosis is mild to severe watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include:

  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

Probable cases reported since Jan. 1, 2014:

  • Florida: 1,142
  • Clay: 11
  • Duval: 66
  • Nassau: 5
  • St. Johns: 31

– Laura Caso, First Coast News.  9/18/14

Days 11-13

Learning Objective:

- Analyze how common limiting factors influence population levels in ecosystems.

Day 11. Reviewed Mid-Term and discussed XP for progress reports.  Students began centers in my A-Day classes, B-Day classes began a Gizmo.  These activities will be swapped on day 12/13.

Day 12. Continued work from the previous day.

Day 13. Completed Gizmos/Centers, Boss Battle 3 against Faminox!

Here’s the centers that we worked on in class.  Students may need more time to complete the modeling center:

Download (PDF, 1.04MB)

And here’s the worksheet that goes along with this set of centers:

Download (PDF, 130KB)


Day 10

Mid-Terms were given today!  Students need to see me immediately if they were out on Day 10 to makeup their Mid-Terms immediately.  As of 9/17, all mid-terms have been graded except for homeroom 783 (8th Period).

Day 9

Learning Objectives:

- Understand how codependence in an ecosystem causes all populations to shift with changes occur.

Today students played a Review Game to identify areas of weakness and fix them in small groups.  This game will also be great practice for the Mid-Term on Day 10.

Click to Play The Review Game Again!

Click to Play The Review Game Again!

We also had our second Boss Battle (a short quiz for the folks at home) that was worth up to 1,000 XP.  That brings the total XP for a perfect score in my classroom to 2,490 XP at the moment.  If you have a C- currently in my class, you’re doing great and you’re on track to make great grades!  If you’re not at a C- yet, don’t worry… there’s still lots of points to go around.  Just make sure that in the future you’re grabbing all that you can!

Open House

If you weren’t able to make it to open house tonight, Team 7-A would love for you to try out the new FSAs that will be taking the FCAT’s spot in prime-time standardized testing.
Once you’ve tried the new exams, particularly the math one, you’ll understand why focus and effort are so crucial on a day to day basis.


Day 8

Lesson Objectives

- Relate the survival of one species to another in the balance of an ecosystem.

Today we worked on a Gizmo in class to reinforce our studies on populations in ecosystems.  Gizmos can be accessed through

Here’s further instructions.


Students may need to print out a new worksheet to complete the assignment.  You can download and print that here:

Download (PDF, 164KB)

XP and Grades Update

You may have noticed that Grade Portal just went blank for you… don’t worry, you’re not the only one.  Several of my classes have had Grade Portal info wiped as classes were restructured this past week.

I should have XP and Grades updated within a week’s time… it’s going to take a while to go back through all of those safety sheets, syllabi, and e-mail addresses.

Here’s Chlorophyll Kid in the meantime!


Trophy Wins – Two for the Water Clan!

Congratulations to the avatars Cameron:), Joyce_is_the_best, Terminator, & Kamaha05 in 2nd period for the win for Water Clan


And congratulations to the avatars Mr. Tan-The-Man, LegoG8R14, and Mr. Reindeer in 5th period for the Water Clan Win!




Scientists have successfully demonstrated a sugar ‘biobattery’ that converts chemical energy stored in sugar substrates into electricity.

“We are the first to demonstrate the complex oxidation of the biobattery’s sugar, so we achieve a near-theoretical energy conversion yield that no one else has reported,” said Y H Percival Zhang, chief science officer of Cell-Free BioInnovations (CFB) at Virginia Tech.

>>> Oxidation of sugar sound familiar?  It’s the same process cellular respiration uses to break apart sugar for energy… oxidation is the use of oxygen to break chemical bonds. – Mr. Rawlins

Sugar contains more potential energy than normal lithium-ion batteries can contain.

CFB’s sugar-powered biobattery can store about 15 times more energy and run for 10 times longer than a similarly-sized lithium-ion battery.

Apart from being more powerful and efficient, the biobattery is cheaper to make, is refillable, environmentally friendly, and is nonflammable.

The biobattery is a type of enzymatic fuel cell (EFC) – an electrobiochemical device that converts chemical energy from starch and glycogen into electricity. The enzymes allow for the use of more complex fuels such as glucose, which give EFCs great energy density.

Zhang described the biobattery as “a significant breakthrough” to LiveScience.

Day 7

Learning Objectives:

-Practice food web labeling.

-Understand codependence in ecosystems.

Today students rotated through three centers that worked on the current content in ecosystems, but also worked on their reading comprehension, writing, and data synthesis abilities.  You can view the centers below, and nab a worksheet if you need another copy.

Download (PDF, 497KB)

Download (PDF, 103KB)