CDC sounded the alarm: US swimming pools and water parks are overflowing with faecal parasites
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that the number of fecal parasites in public pools is increasing. These parasites can cause severe diarrhea and are very tenacious.
In summer, public pools are hugely popular - a great way to cool off in the heat. New York Post. Fans of such bathing risk to become infected with cryptosporidine, a parasite that causes a disease called cryptosporidiosis.
Cryptosporidium, when ingested, can lead to "profuse, watery diarrhea" in healthy adults. The disease lasts about three weeks.
"The number of waterborne outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis in summer forms a seasonal peak - this includes outbreaks in which the parasite was acquired through water, as well as general outbreaks in general," the CDC said.
Although the disease is almost never fatal, one death has been reported since 2009. Between 2009 and 2017, 287 people were hospitalized. Over time, the agency claims that outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis are increasing in number by about 13% each year - and the number of cases is constantly growing. The agency said exposure to the parasite in swimming pools and water parks resulted in 7 cases during that time.
Cryptosporidium is commonly spread by people - especially children - who go to a community pool or water park too early after having had diarrhea.
The main modes of infection are swallowing contaminated water in hot tubs, swimming pools or water playgrounds, and contact with contaminated meat suppliers in child care facilities.
Unlike most microbes, which are destroyed within a few minutes by disinfectants such as chlorine or bromine, cryptosporidium can survive in chlorinated water for more than a week.
In addition to watery diarrhea, symptoms of infection include stomach cramps or pain, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss. Life-threatening exhaustion and dehydration can occur in people with a weakened immune system.
For those suffering from diarrhea, the agency strongly recommends avoiding swimming for at least two weeks after recovery.
"Unlike norovirus or E. coli, which causes diarrhea or vomiting for a couple of days, you can have diarrhea for up to three weeks," said Michelle Hlavsa, CDC's head of the Healthy Swimming Program and co-author of the study. "It's not fun."
“The best thing to do to protect against cryptosporidium is not to swallow the water we swim in,” Hlavsa said. - First of all, do not allow parasites to enter the pool. This means we cannot swim on our own or let the child swim when we have diarrhea. "
The specialist recommended reading the results of water inspections on the website of the local or state health department.
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