Pools with poop in them: outbreaks in New Zealand and UK linked to recreational water venues
Posted: July 30th, 2012 - 4:44pm by Ben Chapman
Illnesses at pools and spray parks happen often because kids, like mine, seem to lose control of their bodily functions as they get excited by the water - and then poop comes out. Or maybe (also like my kids) excess poop from poor post-bathroom wiping hangs around in swim trunks and is washed away by the water.
Regardless of how it gets there, the poop might have pathogens in it and can overwhelm a facility's sanitizing and filtrations systems. A few years ago a bunch of Utah recreational water venues (wading pools and spray parks) became the source of multiple outbreaks resulting in more than 5700 illnesses.
According to the BBC, a norovirus outbreak has closed Bretton Water Park in Peterborough (that's in the UK, not Ontario).
A city council spokesman said its environmental health officers had confirmed the presence of the virus.
He said the park would remain closed until further tests were completed.
Initial checks revealed the council-owned park's maintenance and cleaning procedures were up-to-date.
"It is highly probable that the virus originated with a child or children attending the park who were already infected," the spokesman added.
The Dominion Post reports that pool-visiting Kiwis are also dealing with their own increase of Cryptosporidia-linked illnesses, which has oocysts that isn't easily inactivated with chlorine.
About half of the recent cases reported to public health have had contact with swimming pools throughout the region, but particularly Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre in Kilbirnie and the Arena Aquatic Centre in Porirua.
Regional Public Health is also working with pool managers to ensure systems are in place to reduce the risk.
The highest number of cases has been in the under-5 age group and it is important to ensure tight-fitting togs are worn by this group, Dr McKenzie said.
Porirua and Wellington city councils said there were signs reminding people not to swim after being sick and to shower before entering the pool.
Although modern treatment systems can remove the bug, people may come into contact with it before it's removed by filters.
All pools in the region have been alerted to the increased number of cryptosporidium cases in the community.