STOP swimming with diarrhea: Fecal germs have sickened thousands of swimmers and killed 8 in the last decade, CDC warns
- The CDC is urging Americans to stop swimming in public pools with diarrhea
- A report on pool-related sickness from 2009 to 2017 revealed a serious problem
- A third of sicknesses occurred in hotel pools, mainly from a bacteria which can spread from fecal matter
Before you head for a dip in the pool, beware: more and more American swimmers are catching ‘crypto’, an illness caused by exposure to poop.
The rate of people being sickened cryptosporidium, a parasite, has soared 13 percent since 2009, with more than 7,000 cases recorded in the past decade, a new CDC report warns.
A third of cases happen in treated swimming pools, with the vast majority reported in the months of June, July and August.
In a bid to curtail the problem, US health officials are urging swimmers to stop swimming in public pools when they have diarrhea.
Swimmers and parents of young swimmers play an essential role in preventing Crypto outbreaks
The warning comes after a report revealed eight Americans died, and 30,000 were sickened, by bacteria in hotel pools between 2000 and 2014.
Cryptosporidium, which can come from another person’s fecal matter, can survive normal chlorine levels, which is why people with such illnesses are urged to refrain from swimming.
‘Swallowing just a mouthful of water with Crypto in it can make otherwise healthy kids and adults sick for weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting,’ said Michele Hlavsa, chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program.
‘Chlorine cannot kill Crypto quickly. We need to keep it out of the water in the first place. Don’t go into the water, and don’t let your kids go into the water, if sick with diarrhea.’
US public health officials report on safe swimming every year.
Swimmers and parents of young swimmers play an essential role in preventing Crypto outbreaks.
The bacteria Legionella and Pseudomonas are the next most leading causes of these outbreaks, with 16 percent of outbreaks caused by Legionella and 13 percent caused by Pseudomonas.
Legionella can cause severe pneumonia and symptoms similar to the flu. Pseudomonas can cause hot tub rash and swimmer’s ear.
If a pool, hot tub, or water playground is not cleaned properly, bacteria can grow and form a slime called biofilm on wet surfaces.
Legionella and Pseudomonas can live in this biofilm. It is harder for disinfectants to kill these bacteria when they are protected by biofilm.
The CDC warns that pool operators need to maintain proper cleaning practices and disinfectant levels to prevent bacteria from growing and causing illnesses in swimmers.