Hotel pools a factor in water-related illness outbreaks

Henrietta Strickland
May 18, 2018

Whether you have a pool in your yard or your neighborhood or if you plan to take a dip in a hotel pool, a word of caution.

"We often underestimate what it takes to properly run a pool or hot tub to maintain a chlorine level where it needs to be", said study lead author Michele Hlavsa, chief of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy Swimming Program. Pseudomonas and Legionella are bacteria that can survive disinfectants in slimy areas of hot tubs, pools, and water playgrounds. In addition, eight deaths were attributed to the outbreaks as well. While most park districts and major water parks adhere to CDC guidelines, Dr. Dorevitch said if you are unsure, ask the pools aquatics director about the protocol to keep the pool clean and safe.

Outbreaks spiked during June, July and August, but they were observed all year long throughout the study period. A third of those were traced back to hotel pools and hot tubs.

Hotels were associated with 157 of the 439 outbreaks, the vast majority of those occurring in pools.

In some cases, they can even lead to death, USA health officials reported Thursday. Crypto caused 58 percent of outbreaks and 89 percent of the illnesses.

This parasite can be transmitted in the water during diarrhea, and that is likely how the pools got infected. Pool operators need to maintain proper cleaning practices and disinfectant levels to prevent bacteria from growing and causing illnesses in swimmers. If it gets into contact with a swimmer, or if a swimmer were to digest some of the contaminated water, then the parasite will keep spreading.

The first step to stopping the spread of pathogens and parasites is to treat the pool. A new report by the CDC warns that some infectious bacteria are resistant to chlorine. It is harder for disinfectants to kill these bacteria when they are protected by biofilm. These supplies can be purchased at stores all across the United States.

And most importantly, don't let your babies into the water unless they're wearing swim diapers. The CDC recommends that swimmers and kids with diarrhea should stay out of public pools, such as hotels, for at least two weeks. Keeping your child out of public pools when having diarrhea or otherwise being ill is also a good idea, CNN suggested. We are talking about preventing an illness by prescribing basic hygiene. If Crypto is the cause of the diarrhea, wait until 2 weeks after diarrhea has stopped to go swimming.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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