July Is Peak Time for Illness From Feces in Pools
(E.J. Mundell, Health Day News) Is it safe to go in the water this summer?
Not if microscopic germs like E. coli or cryptosporidium are swimming in the pool with you, U.S. health officials warn.
“These germs make people sick when they swallow water contaminated with poop,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated frankly in a news release on Thursday.
The statement accompanied a new report on 140 outbreaks of “untreated recreational water” that sickened nearly 5,000 people and killed two between 2000 and 2014 in the United States.
Many of these cases were traced to fecal matter released into pools by children or adults who weren’t following proper hygiene precautions, said a team led by preventive medicine researcher Michele Hlavsa, of Emory University in Atlanta.
About one-third of the cases occurred in public parks, and another third at public beaches, the report found.
And July was the peak month — 58 percent began in that month.
The way a pool or local beach usually gets contaminated isn’t pretty.
“Swimmers can be a source of fecal contamination if they have a fecal incident in the water or fecal material washes off their bodies,” the researchers explained.
Dr. Robert Glatter is an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who’s seen the effects of severe gastrointestinal illnesses firsthand.
“If you develop fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain or vomiting after swimming in a lake or untreated water, it’s important to see your doctor or be treated in the emergency department,” he said.
In the new report, 87 percent of illnesses were traced to bugs such as E. coli, cryptosporidium, norovirus and Shigella — all of which can be present in feces. Read the full story at WebMD