Quantcast

No. 1 swimming pool problem? Number two - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

No. 1 swimming pool problem? Number two

Posted: Updated:

People always worry about pee in the pool, but number two is the No. 1 problem, government health experts say. They found plenty of evidence that someone's pooping in the pool.

It's not only disgusting, but it's evidence that people are not following basic hygiene rules, says Michele Hlavsa, chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy Swimming Program.

"It is time to stop treating the swimming pool as a toilet," Hlavsa told NBC News. "Nowhere else except for the pool is it acceptable to poop in public or pee in public. In other places if we did this in public, we'd be arrested."

CDC and county health officials tested the pools in four Florida counties last summer for the study. They got water out of the pool filters and ran tests for microbes – especially E. coli, which lives inside the bodies of animals and which is carried in feces. If E. coli is somewhere, it likely got there via feces.

"Escherichia coli, a fecal indicator, was detected in 93 (58 percent) samples; detection signifies that swimmers introduced fecal material into pool water," Hlavsa's team wrote in CDC's weekly report on disease and death.

"We don't know how it got in there. It either washed off somebody's body or somebody had a bowel movement in the pool," Hlavsa said.

Regular bowel movements – what CDC delicately refers to as a "formed fecal incident" – isn't so much a worry. But diarrhea is. Diarrhea carries the germs that caused the illness right into the water, and the chlorine doesn't kill it instantly.

The good news is that there were no reports of sickness outbreaks at any of the pools tested last summer – or anywhere else in Florida last summer, for that matter, Hlavsa says. But every year there are between 20 and 80 disease outbreaks associated with public pools – and those are just the ones that get reported, Hlavsa says.

The other piece of good news is that there weren't too many other pathogens in the pools. Only one sample of Cryptosporidium, a common cause of diarrhea, showed up. Two samples of a parasite called Giardia were found – that one can cause a very uncomfortable stomach upset. Viruses such as adenovirus, which causes colds, and norovirus, which causes "stomach flu," can survive in swimming pools.

The E. coli in the pool didn't necessarily come from a bowel movement, Hlavsa said -- and this is why it's important to actually obey the signs that virtually everyone ignores about showering before going into the pool.

"The average person has about .14 grams of feces on their rear end," Hlavsa said. "If that rinses off into the water, the amount from one person might not be that much. But as more and more swimmers introduce it that much, it does become an issue."

She's actually done the math.

"Let's imagine 1,000 kids go to a water park. They have as much as 10 grams of feces on their rear ends," she said. "We are now talking about 10,000 grams or 10 kg. That translates to 24 pounds of poop in the water."

So one important rule – never swallow the water from a swimming pool.

"Basically, these pools are big bathtubs we all share together," Hlavsa said.

She doesn't want to scare anyone away from swimming, which is, after all, a great way to exercise. "As soon as the weather gets warm enough here in Atlanta, I plan to swim," Hlavsa said.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @wflatampa

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:41:35 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:49 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Palm Harbor strip club hit & run victim makes plea

    Palm Harbor strip club hit & run victim makes plea

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:33 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:33:46 GMT
    New video shows the violent incident early Friday morning, outside "Silks" strip club on US 19 in Palm Harbor. Bouncer Doug Berube and the club DJ. wanted to talk to a guy in a car about an earlier incident. The driver shoved it in reverse, hit the gas, and backed over Berube. He has a plea for the driver....
    New video shows the violent incident early Friday morning, outside "Silks" strip club on US 19 in Palm Harbor. Bouncer Doug Berube and the club DJ. wanted to talk to a guy in a car about an earlier incident. The driver shoved it in reverse, hit the gas, and backed over Berube. He has a plea for the driver....
  • Land O' Lakes man: troopers saved my life

    Land O' Lakes man: troopers saved my life

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:41:51 GMT
    A Pasco County man credits two Florida Highway Patrol troopers with saving his life. A Pasco County man credits two Florida Highway Patrol troopers with saving his life.
    Chris Henry calls two Florida Highway Patrol Troopers heroes. He believes they saved his life.
    Chris Henry calls two Florida Highway Patrol Troopers heroes. He believes they saved his life.
  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:41:35 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.