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Ah, summertime. The sun, the pool…the diarrhea?

When most of us think of summertime fun, stomach cramps, nausea, rashes, and ear infections aren’t exactly in the top ten. But unfortunately, outbreaks associated with treated recreational water are often caused by pathogens. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,  a third of treated recreational waterborne disease outbreaks occurred in hotel pools or hot tubs. Laboratories can play a key role in helping hotel and public pool and spa owners ensure they are effectively reducing the risk of these diseases. 

Most reported outbreaks from 2000-2014 in the United States were caused by pathogens including, Cryptosporidium, Pseudomonas and Legionella. 

Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and is the cause of 58 percent of the reported pathogenic outbreaks. A Crypto outbreak occurs when an infected swimmer has diarrhea in the water and other swimmers swallow the water. 

Legionella can cause severe pneumonia and symptoms similar to the flu for people with compromised immune systems. The pathogen was responsible for 16 percent of the reported outbreaks. 

Pseudomonas can cause hot tub rash and an ear infection often referred to as swimmer’s ear. Pseudomonas was responsible for 13 percent of the reported outbreaks. 

To help safeguard against outbreaks of these three pathogens, be sure to visit www.idexx.com/water to see our full line of diagnostic water testing. 
 
Helpful advice from Outbreak News Today:
•    Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea. If Crypto is the cause of the diarrhea, wait until 2 weeks after diarrhea has stopped to go swimming.
•    Check the pools, hot tubs and water playground inspection scores.
•    Before getting in the water, use a test strip from your local retailer or pool supply store to check if the water’s pH and bromine or free chlorine level are correct.
•    Don’t swallow the water.
•    Take kids on bathroom breaks hourly, and change diapers in a diaper-changing area and away from the water.
Please visit Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report to read the full CDC report. 

(image source: CDC.gov)
 



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