What to Know
- CDC says that from 2000-2014, public health officials in 46 states and PR reported 493 outbreaks associated with treated recreational water
- These outbreaks lead to at least 27,219 cases of illnesses and eight deaths
- Of these outbreaks, about half took place from June to August, although there was a smaller peak in March, the study says
Excited to hit the pool this summer? A new study may make you think twice before you jump in.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 2000 to 2014, public health officials in 46 states and Puerto Rico reported 493 outbreaks associated with treated recreational water, which lead to at least 27,219 cases of illnesses and eight deaths.
The study, which was published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, revealed that of the 493 outbreaks, causes were confirmed for 385 of them: 363 were caused by pathogens, which resulted in a minimum of 24,453 cases of illnesses, while 22 outbreaks were caused by chemicals that lead to at least 1,028 cases.
According to the CDC, 32 percent of the outbreaks took place in hotel pools and hot tubs, followed by public parks, which had 23 percent of the outbreaks. Club/recreational facilities and waterparks made up 14 and 11 percent of the outbreaks, respectively.
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Of these outbreaks, about half took place from June to August, although there was a smaller peak in March, the study says.
The study reveals that the majority of the outbreaks were from three organisms that can survive chlorine and other disinfectants. Cryptosporidium, is a parasite that can cause gastrointestinal problems and was associated with outbreaks. Pseudomonas, a bacteria that causes swimmer’s ear and Legionella, a bacteria that causes a pneumonia-like illness, were the other two organisms that cause outbreaks.
The CDC recommends a number of steps that one can take before taking a swim to reduce the chances of getting sick, like not swallowing pool water, don’t let children who may be suffering from diarrhea enter the water and use test strips to determine the levels of pH, bromine and chlorine in the water.