Diarrhea Outbreaks From Dirty Pool Water on the Rise

Evrard Martin
Mai 20, 2017

For example, the researchers said Arizona health officials used the system past year to confirm a specific type of Cryptosporidium that spread to multiple swimming pools around Phoenix.

The CDC says at least 32 outbreaks caused by Cryptosporidium or "Crypto" were reported in 2016, compared with 16 outbreaks in 2014.

Infections occur when swimmers ingest water contaminated by diarrhea from a person infected by Cryptosporidium or Crypto, a parasite that is notoriously hard to kill.

It only takes a mouthful of contaminated water to make a healthy person sick for up to three weeks.

In Fresno County, there were 10 cases in 2016; 13 in 2015 and seven cases in 2014, according to the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

In Ohio alone, about 2,000 people got sick from Crypto a year ago, according to CNN.

Don't swallow the water in which you swim. Rather than jump from one large outbreak to the next one, the authors believe public health agencies should be using collected crypto samples to establish a far-reaching system that can track the distribution of crypto strains across the country.

Experts are unsure if the parasite is becoming more common, or if the reason for the spike is simply more people reporting it.

It's a solitary way to exercise, even in a public pool. What makes it different is that in its cyst form, crypto can survive the harsh environment of a regularly chlorinated pool for days.

Generally, she said, backyard pools are less of a risk because fewer people swim in them.

The only way to get rid of Crypto in a pool is to shut it down and hyper-chlorinate it.

"When somebody spits up or throws up, it's so acidic, so you don't need to evacuate the pool, but certainly, anything that comes out the other end is an issue", Conrad said.

Preliminary data indicate that outbreaks of Cryptosporidium are increasingly being reported to CDC.

Parents should take kids on bathroom breaks often, and shouldn't count on swim diapers protecting other swimmers from exposure to a child's diarrhea, Hlavsa added.

Pools: Proper chlorine (1-3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]) and pH (7.2-7.8) levels maximize germ-killing power. Pool operators should carefully follow directions on pool chemical product labels, secure chemicals, and keep them away from kids.

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