Warning: New disease found in pools across U.S.

July 18, 2019

During the summer, it’s natural for kids and adults alike to want to go swimming, but who would have thought that this summer 2019 could be the most dangerous time for swimming.

Local and private pools outbreaks of diarrhea-causing cryptosporidium are increasing 13 percent each year, and 7,465 cases of crypto infection were reported from 2009 through 2017.

The number of outbreaks reached 444, according to the agency’s report released last week.

But it’s not just crypto that swimmers have to be wary of. The CDC says 493 outbreaks of some kind of bacteria, parasite, or chemical between 2000 and 2014 were associated with recreational facilities, including pools, hot tubs, and playgrounds, and caused 27,219 cases and eight deaths.

Most of those deaths were caused by bacteria or other pathogens, and 6 percent by chemicals.

Of the outbreaks caused by bacteria and viruses, 58 percent were caused by cryptosporidium, which causes diarrhea that can last for up to 3 weeks.

Thirteen percent were from pseudomonas, which causes hot tub rash and swimmer’s ear. Another 16 percent came from legionella, which causes Legionnaire’s disease and a milder illness with flu-like symptoms known as Pontiac fever.

Crypto is highly resistant to chlorine, which makes it hard to kill once it’s in the water.

“Swallowing just a mouthful of water with crypto in it can make otherwise healthy kids and adults sick for weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting,” says Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program.