CDC warns about parasite in hotel pools

Hotel Pools and Hot Tubs Are Major Sources of Waterborne Illness Outbreaks, CDC Says

A third of treated recreational waterborne disease outbreaks (such as pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds) during 2000 through 2014 occurred in hotel pools or hot tubs, according to a report published today in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Almost 500 outbreaks associated with treated recreational water led to 27,219 illnesses and eight deaths from 2000 to 2014, the CDC said in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Thursday. But the real problem is the swimmers themselves: if you have a recent wound - say, a cut or a scratch - it's probably best to stay out of the water, lest you pick up an infection through an open wound.

Nearly half of the hotel outbreaks (41%) were associated with hot tubs and or spas.

Outbreaks spiked during June, July and August, but they were observed all year long throughout the study period. Diarrheal disease outbreaks caused by Cryptosporidium leveled off during 2008 through 2014.

Over 90 percent of the outbreaks in hotel pools can be directly attributed to pathogens or chemicals.

In some cases, they can even lead to death, USA health officials reported Thursday.

And many of those cases were caused by Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes diarrhea, as well as the bacteria that cause Legionnaire's disease and a second bacteria called Pseudomonas. Crypto caused 58 percent of outbreaks and 89 percent of the illnesses. Pool operators need to maintain proper cleaning practices and disinfectant levels to prevent bacteria from growing and causing illnesses in swimmers.

The most important way to prevent these outbreaks is to educate swimmers.

Swimmers, too, have a responsibility not to spread germs into pool water, Siegel said. It is also important for people to maintain the pools by measuring the chlorine level with test strips. The CDC recommends hyperchlorination of the water in the pool so that bacteria can be killed.

Take kids on bathroom breaks hourly, and change diapers in a diaper-changing area and away from the water.

"Any child or adult having diarrhea should simply not be in a pool, hot tub or water playground", Dr. Robert Glatter told CNN. Also, small children are less likely to use a hot tub - and if you haven't yet figured out the connection between small children and waterborne diseases in recreational water, you're about to learn. If Crypto caused the diarrhea, wait two weeks after the diarrhea has stopped before swimming.

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