Alert! Diarrhoea Parasite Spreads Through Swimming Pools in Australia

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Warning reports say there’s a highly contagious parasite that causes month-long diarrhea has reached Australian shores. 

Here’s what Nexter.org found out about it.

In a nutshell

Cryptosporidiosis can withstand chlorinated waters and is spread predominately in public pools, water parks, or by drinking contaminated water.

NSW Health issued a public health warning about the parasite after a slew of confirmed cases.

The department’s figures showed just under 400 South Australians picked up the cryptosporidium parasite in 2015. A similar number of cases was last recorded in 2007 and in 2010 there was 47 cases.

australia-parasite-pools-pics1

Source: Shutterstock

SA Health’s David Cunliffe said the source of the latest spike in cases had not been identified, but cryptosporidium was most commonly spread through pools.

Symptoms include lots of diarrhoea, stomach cramps, nausea and sometimes vomiting or fever. There is no specific treatment for the condition and symptoms may last a few weeks.

“A swimming pool could act as a source of even higher numbers,” Dr Cuncliffe said. “Cryptosporidium is resistant to the levels of chlorine that we can use in swimming pools. We can decontaminate pools with very high levels of chlorine but we can only do that overnight when the pools aren’t being used.”

australia-parasite-pools-pics2

Source: PA

He said people currently sick or recently unwell should stay out of the water. “We ask that anyone who has had diarrhoea that they should stay out of pools for 14 days.”

He said UV light disinfection systems, like those at public swimming pools at Marion and North Adelaide, were very effective at killing the parasite although they did not offer total protection.

Health Minister Jack Snelling said he was worried about a big outbreak of cases during summer.

“There’s enormous risk of someone spreading cryptosporidium through big public swimming pools,” Mr Snelling said.


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Warning reports say there's a highly contagious parasite that causes month-long diarrhea has reached Australian shores.  Here's what Nexter.org found out about it and how to protect yourself and your family.
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