With the summer in full swing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns the public about bacteria in public pools. Michele Hlvasa with the CDC's Healthy Swimming Program, says there’s a germ called cryptosporidium that’s causing a lot of outbreaks linked to swimming. She says they’re seeing an uptick in the number of infections.
“We found in 2016 that at least 32 outbreaks linked to swimming were caused by crypto. In 2014, there were 16. So we’re seeing at least a doubling of outbreaks,” Hlvasa said.
Hlvasa says crypto is a parasite that causes diarrhea that can last up to three weeks. She says it gets into the water when someone with diarrhea gets into the water. She says people get infected when they swallow dirty water.
“Don’t swallow the water you swim in. Chlorine kills germs, and it kills most germs within minutes. However, crypto can survive for days in a well-treated pool,” Hlvasa said.
Hlvasa says to protect others from getting crypto, stay out of the pool if you’ve had diarrhea recently. She advises people who have been sick to stay out of the water until you’re diarrhea free for at least two weeks.
“This is because the symptoms can come and go and also because we continue shedding the parasite up to two weeks after our symptoms have stopped,” Hlvasa said.
To learn more about healthy swimming, visit cdc.gov.