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Victoria records four-fold increase in Cryptosporidium in public pools

Victoria records four-fold increase in Cryptosporidium in public pools
March 26, 2013

As Victoria's hot summer weather led to a rise in swimming pool usage, health authorities have recorded a four-fold increase in waterborne gastric cases among pool users.

As a result, the Victorian Department of Health has issued advice, first to metropolitan aquatic and recreation centres and now to regional aquatic and recreation centres, to undergo super chlorination procedures as a preventative measure.

Super chlorination is necessary as the cryptosporidium gastro parasite can not be killed by normal levels of chlorination.

Advice from Victoria's Chief Health Officer Dr. Rosemary Lester stated "the Department is investigating a four-fold increase in Cryptosporidium notifications since January 2013.

"Many cases are reporting exposure to swimming pools in their incubation periods, and other settings representing a risk for onwards transmission are households and childcare facilities."

The Department requires the operators and managers of aquatic and recreation centres to:

Print and put up copies of the Health Department's sign in prominent public areas of the facility, which includes messages warning all patrons against swimming if they have had diarrhoea within the past two weeks;

Check that staff are up to date with the faecal accident policy at the facility;

Ensure the pool treatment system is working effectively.

Dr Lester also urged those who have had diarrhoea not to go into a swimming pool for at least 14 days after symptoms had stopped for fear of passing on the bug adding "cryptosporidiosis is typically caused by swallowing contaminated water, household contact with a case and contact with farm animals."

The Victorian Department of Health is working with Aquatics and Recreation Victoria (ARV) and individual councils to implement extra measures to kill the parasite.

ARV is currently in the process of gathering a panel to present an industry information session on effectively managing Cryptosporidium, associated facility operations and managing public expectations.

Further advice on this important industry seminar, which will include a representative from the Victorian Department of Health, will be available shortly.

For details of the seminar contact Vladimir Varga of ARV on email:



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