Hotels are to blame for about 30% of all disease outbreaks in the United States associated with chlorinated or purified water, like that found in swimming pools and hot tubs, from 2000 to 2014, a new report released by the government indicates. Over that 15-year timeframe, a whopping 493 treated water-related diseases outbreaks were registered in 46 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the survey reported. The culprits are parasites and bacteria that live in the water.
The report also describes an outbreak of diseases that are similar and occur in more than one person and are associated with timing and placement of a given source of treated water.
Overall, these outbreaks have led to an estimated of 27,219 illnesses and 8 casualties, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The parasites and bacteria in treated water are to blame for most of the diseases outbreaks related to swimming pools and hot tubs
Over half (58%) of outbreaks with a substantiated cause have been triggered by the parasite Cryptosporidium, known as Crypto, that can live even in properly managed pools and can cause swimmers to experience gastrointestinal diseases and diarrhea.
Also, 16% of all the cases were connected to the Legionella bacteria, responsible for the Legionnaire’s disease, a severe form of pneumonia, and Pontiac fever, a gentler, flu-like condition.
Besides, the researchers also unveiled that Pseudomonas bacteria was the culprit for 13% of the treated water-related diseases. Pseudomonas can trigger folliculitis, popularly known as “hot tub rash”, and external otitis.
The main cause of these infections is the fact that all of them (Cryptosporidium, Legionella bacteria, and Pseudomonas bacteria) are resistant to the disinfectants used to treat water in swimming pools and hot tubs.
The CDC reported that, as expected, the majority of the diseases outbreaks related to swimming pools and hot tubs occur between June and August when the hot days bring more people to swimming pools.