According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there is a growing number of recreational water illness outbreaks, thus caution is urged upon visiting a swimming pool or hot-tub.
The report recently released by the U.S. CDC states that between 2011 and 2012 there have been 90 cases of outbreaks connected to pools as well as hot-tubs. Since, the numbers have increased due to poor hygienic measures both in the facilities and with the people visiting them.
The numbers speak for themselves. In Puerto Rico and 32 states there have been 1,788 cases of infection with the most spread bacteria, cryptosporidium which causes severe diarrhea. Out of these, 95 cases ended up in hospital and one death has also been registered.
While infection with cryptosporidium can be caused by foods and drinks contaminated as well, the most common way to get it is from the recreational water facilities like pools and the hot tubs. In fact, according to the CDC report, more than half the cases are from recreational water facilities.
Cryptosporidium usually resides in fecal matter. Upon infection it causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. According to the CDC report, the number of outbreaks related to cryptosporidium is the largest since 1988.
Firstly, this water-borne germ is highly resistant to chlorine. Even in waters that regularly disinfected with the substance, cryptosporidium may live up to two weeks. It is brought in the pools or hot tubs by people who have poor hygiene or who have had diarrhea in the previous two weeks before entering the recreational water facilities.
More measures that could be taken by these facilities to ensure a more thorough cleansing include installing ozone or ultraviolet light.
In case you have entered a pool or hot tub that might have been infected with the cryptosporidium bacteria, pay attention to the following symptoms which may be felt within one week of the event.
Among the symptoms watery diarrhea is the most common. Secondly, dehydration, coupled with weight loss and the lack of appetite are commonly met in patients infected with the diarrhea-causing cryptosporidium.
Stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, as well as fever may occur as well. As cryptosporidium is not visible to the naked eye and thus cannot be avoided, people visiting recreational water facilities may be infected by ingesting contaminated water or putting their contaminated hands in the mouth, as is most often the case with children.
If any of the symptoms occur, people are asked to visit a physician. As for the recreational water facilities, it would be recommended that a suit of hygiene measures are closely followed.
Shower before and after entering the pool or hot tub, not urinating or defecating in the water, as well as not ingesting the water are the most common sense recommendations.
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