On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report according to which 90 illness outbreaks caused by pool water parasites were reported between 2011 and 2012 in Puerto Rico and other 32 states.
According to the report almost 1,788 people were affected and 95 of them were hospitalized and one died. The pool water parasite Cryptosporidium causes diarrhea outbreak among swimmers. This is the most common pool water parasite which causes RWI (recreational water illnesses). Half of the cases in the report were caused by the Cryptosporidium parasite.
The risk of RWI is increased by the fact that swimmers do not employ proper hygiene measures before entering the pools and because in some facilities the cleaning procedures applied are poor.
The Cryptosporidium parasite is invisible to the human eye. It remains in the water for long periods of time and contaminates people through ingestion either by swallowing contaminated water or food or by putting their hands in their mouths. The parasites are found in swimming pools and in hot tubs and they can survive for ten days even if the water is chlorinated in order to kill germs.
Dr. Holly Phillips said that the most surprising thing is the fact that in 77 percent of the cases the water was treated. The parasite was not taken from lakes and ponds which are places where parasites are expected to be found, but from pools, hot tubs and spas.
Children, elderly people and persons whose immune systems are exposed to other diseases are the most exposed to such contaminations. The most common symptoms include abdominal pain and diarrhea. In some cases diarrhea can be severe and this can lead to dehydration and malnutrition. In such instances the life of the patient is threatened.
Most infections with the parasite are related to indigestion and that is why Cryptosporidiosis is considered to be a waterbone disease. The reason why the parasite can resist in water is its cystic form which protects it from the chemicals used to keep the water clean.
CDC recommends people to do the best they can not to swallow the pool water in order to minimize the risk of getting infected.
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