The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned on Tuesday that a hard-to-kill germ called Cryptosporidium may be lurking in hotel pools. They claimed that these parasites are resistants of chlorine disinfectants. The federal health officials also revealed that Cryptosporidium has set the stage for nearly a third of all disease outbreaks in the United States linked to treated water.
CDC said between 2000 and 2014 a total of 493 disease outbreak cases, linked to treated water were reported in the United States. Many of these outbreaks were caused by chlorine-resistant Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes severe diarrhea and gastrointestinal illness in the victim's body. The study report revealed that 58 percent of the outbreaks in this given period of time were caused by Cryptosporidium.
16 percent of the illness could be attributed to Legionella bacteria which cause Legionnaire's disease, pneumonia and Pontiac fever among the affected people.
Pseudomonas, another bacteria which cause folliculitis affected 13 percent of people who enjoy treated waters. Apart from Cryptosporidium, both Pseudomonas and Legionella can also withstand disinfectants.
"Most germs are killed within minutes by the amount of chlorine that CDC recommends and that is required by state and local governments. Crypto can survive for seven or more days. It takes a lot of chlorine, for a lot of time, to kill crypto. Diarrhea caused by crypto can be pretty watery so it can be pretty stealthy," said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC's Healthy Swimming Program, NBC News reports.
Precautions to be taken
Michele Hlavsa requested everyone not to drink water from the pool while swimming.
"The advice is pretty standard no matter who you are. Once in the water, don't drink the water you swim in," warned Hlavasa.
However, Hlavasa made it clear that stop drinking water from the pool alone could not help swimmers to protect themselves from all the infections which they may get from swimming pools and hot tubs.
Hlavsa also asked everyone to have a proper shower before going to the swimming pool.
"The problem with peeing in the pool and the problem with not showering before you go into the pool is that urine and sweat and dirt combine with chlorine in the water. Pee can interact with chlorine. It's really, really, really important to shower and not to pee in the pool," added Hlavasa.