People love to go in pools while staying at a hotel, but a new report suggests that these recreational areas might potentially pose a major health risk.
What Is The Problem With Hotel Pools?
More than 27,000 illnesses were caused by 493 outbreaks with exposure to treated recreational water between 2000 and 2014 in the United States. In addition, eight deaths were attributed to the outbreaks as well.
The findings were published in a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on May 17.
Hotel swimming pools were the leading setting for the incidents, accounting for 157 of the 493 recorded outbreaks. Hot tubs, spas, and water playgrounds were some of the other settings for outbreaks.
Examining the hotel outbreaks, 60 percent involved a confirmed infectious etiology. The majority of the outbreaks spiked during the summer months of June, July, and August.
What Is Causing The Outbreak In Hotel Pools?
Over 90 percent of the outbreaks in hotel pools can be directly attributed to pathogens or chemicals. The leading pathogens in these reported cases were Cryptosporidium, Legionella, and Pseudomonas.
Cryptosporidium, also called Crypto, is a parasite that can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal illnesses. Over 200 of the outbreaks in the CDC report are attributed to Cryptosporidium, including over 21,000 illnesses.
This parasite can be transmitted in the water during diarrhea, and that is likely how the pools got infected. Cryptosporidium can survive in pools that are properly cleaned and maintained. If it gets into contact with a swimmer, or if a swimmer were to digest some of the contaminated water, then the parasite will keep spreading.
What Steps Can Be Taken To Stop The Outbreak?
The first step to stop the spread of pathogens and parasites is to treat the pool. The CDC recommends hyperchlorination of the water in the pool so that bacteria can be killed. It is also important for people to maintain the pools by measuring the chlorine level with test strips. These supplies can be purchased at stores all across the United States.
The most important way to prevent these outbreaks is to educate swimmers. The CDC recommends that swimmers and kids with diarrhea should stay out of public pools, such as hotels, for at least two weeks.
"Any child or adult having diarrhea should simply not be in a pool, hot tub or water playground," Dr. Robert Glatter told CNN. "The message is simple: Keep your children out of the pool or hot tub if they are having diarrhea. We are talking about preventing an illness by prescribing basic hygiene. If Crypto is confirmed, it's essential to remain out of the water for two weeks."