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CDC Issues Report on Recreational Water Illness

August 10, 2007

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a report regarding five 2006 laboratory-confirmed outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis , a gastrointestinal illness that causes severe diarrhea. The five outbreaks occurred in Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, South Carolina and Wyoming. Consequently, the CDC has suggested new recommendations for healthy swimming.

Cryptosporidium is one of the leading causes of gastroenteritis outbreaks associated with treated recreational water venues. Public pools and water recreation accounted for approximately 60% of reported outbreaks from 1995-2004 , according to the CDC. Since cryptosporidium is resistant to chlorine disinfection, the CDC recommends that treatment strategies for recreational water facilities need to be improved. The report notes that supplementary disinfection known to inactivate Cryptosporidium , such as ultraviolet radiation or ozone systems, can add an additional level of protection for swimmers by decreasing the length of time that the pathogens can be transmitted.

The CDC however, also stressed that healthy swimming behaviors can serve as a catalyst to reducing outbreaks. The report suggested that public education efforts should adopt messages articulated by the Water and Quality Health Council, which state the following:

  • Do refrain from swimming while suffering from diarrhea
  • Do not swallow pool water
  • Do practice good hygiene
  • Do report any contamination

Finally, in the event of an outbreak, public officials must work to decrease the possibility of communitywide transmission by communicating accurate and timely information.

To read the entire report, please visit:
Cryptosporidiosis Outbreaks Associated with Recreational Water Use

If you would like to remove Cryptosporidium from your drinking water or shower go to our Water Purifiers page.


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