State environmental health specialists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected water samples last summer from indoor and outdoor public pools, some from water attractions, and found alarming results of fecal contamination in Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.
The study performed is indicative of public pools across the nation and in water attractions at tourist destinations. Although other microbes were found, P. aeruginosa in 95 of 161 samples and E. coli in 93 of those samples were most alarming.
According to the textbook of bacteriology, P. aeruginosa causes urinary tract, respiratory system, soft tissue, bone and joint, gastrointestinal and systemic infections, as well as dermatitis and bacteremia. ” Pseudomonas is one of the most vigorous, fast-swimming bacteria seen in hay infusions and pond water samples.” This bacteria is found naturally in soil and water. In fact, it can be found growing in distilled water.
The CDC says that Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of people and animals. Most of the bacteria are harmless, a part of a healthy intestinal tract. Some of the bacteria are pathogenic, causing diarrhea or illness outside the intestinal tract. This type of E. coli can be transmitted through contaminated water or contact with animals or people.
Fecal matter is found in minute amounts on most people who enter public bodies of water to swim. Sweat is another factor that enters the pool water to bond with microbes and cause illness. Babies wearing swimmer disposable diapers and young children who are already ill with diarrhea contaminate the pools.
The following steps will help insure the public pools are safe for everyone, but everyone must follow the steps to be effective.
- Take a pre-shower before entering the pool. Use regular soap.
- Wear shoes from the shower to pool-side.
- Never enter or allow children to enter a pool knowing you or they are ill with diarrhea.
- Teach children to never swallow pool water.
- Don’t enter a public pool with any open sores, cuts or scratches.
- Report any accidents in the pool that involve fecal matter so the pool can be closed and cleaned properly.
Staying healthy while enjoying public pools this summer is just a matter of taking natural precautions. Don’t rely on pool filters to keep the pool clean and safe. The study has proven that filters fail more than half the time.