We've had a concerted media campaign to scare Americans about measles for many months. So what about this very real summer danger, for which there is chlorine but no vaccine? My point is this: life is full of germs, illnesses, diseases, discomforts and even danger. How do "we" pick and choose when and how much to sound the alarm, to panic even, to take away rights and change laws?
In my town, we have two public pools. One is an old fashioned large pool with standard stairs to enter a shallow end, a deep end and a diving area complete with a diving board. The other is a newer pool, called "zero depth," which you enter like the beach. It's flat and babies and toddlers can sit and splash in an inch of water to cool off. That pools closes at least once a week for poop in the pool. Some blame lazy Moms for not changing their kids often enough. Some blame swim diapers for created a false sense of security. Last year, senior citizens were blamed! Yesterday, an article ran in USA Today (no friend to the vaccine safety community) about the danger in public pools. Note that the tone is almost playful, not dire, like reports about measles. "Diarrhea is no fun!"
People getting sick from fecal parasite in pools, CDC says. Here's how to stay safe
Cooling off in the pool or spending the day at a water park are classic summer activities, but government health officials warn that there are parasites lurking in communal water that even chlorine can't kill.
In a well-chlorinated pool, the Giardia parasite can survive for up to 45 minutes, and the hepatitis A virus can survive for about 16 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A parasite called cryptosporidium, or crypto, can survive for more than a week even in a properly treated pool or water park, according to epidemiologist Michele Hlavsa.
Exposure to crypto in pools and water playgrounds caused 4,232 illnesses from 2009 to 2017, according to a report released Thursday by the CDC. People, children in particular, who swim too soon after having a case of diarrhea can spread the parasite.
"Unlike maybe norovirus or E. coli, which cause diarrhea or vomiting for a couple days, you can have diarrhea caused by crypto for up to three weeks," said Hlavsa, one of the study's authors. "That's not fun."
The number of illnesses caused by crypto associated with "treated recreational water" peaks from June to August and increased 14.3% each year from 2009 to 2016, according to the CDC. The report noted that these findings probably underestimate the actual number of crypto outbreaks.