How to Understand the Latest CDC Warnings About Waterborne Illnesses

How to Understand the Latest CDC Warnings About Waterborne Illnesses Image

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) released a statement with some alarming statistics about cryptosporidium. There’s been an average 13% annual increase in crypto outbreaks from 2009-2017. Crypto is a resilient parasite found in swimming pools that causes severe intestinal problems. The effects can be even worse for the very young, old or anyone with a compromised immune system.

Why is this alarming?
The CDC points out that crypto is so tough it can survive in properly maintained pools. Chlorine is in pools to keep them clean and safe, but crypto can stick around even in chlorinated water. Per the CDC, swallowing even the smallest amount of infected water can make you sick.

Are pools really that dirty?
According to a recent survey (created on behalf of the Water Quality & Health Council), half of the people surveyed don’t shower before getting in the pool. What’s more disturbing is that more than 25% admit they would get in the pool within an hour of having diarrhea.

How is crypto spread?
Crypto can be spread in fun environments that attract children – such as waterparks and splash pads – as well as natural environments, including lakes and ponds. It’s easily spread in pools because you’re sharing the water and all the germs in it. According to the CDC, crypto is the leading cause of disease outbreaks in the U.S. linked to water. Most outbreaks are specifically linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds.

Reports of waterborne illnesses are in the thousands. While they’re generally from commercial aquatic centers, there’s no reason to assume crypto doesn’t exist in residential pools. Homeowners don’t have the testing and reporting requirements of commercial pools. The good news is that keeping pool water clean and safe IS possible!

How can infection be prevented?
Three things you can do to help:
1) Stay out of the water if you’ve been sick. The first step to keeping pools safe is avoiding contamination in the first place.
2) Avoid swallowing pool water. We do it without realizing it, and children are the most susceptible. Pay attention and teach children to never swallow pool water.
3) Rinse off before swimming. You bring everything on your body with you into the pool.

How can pool care be more proactive?
Planning ahead can make even contaminated water safer. The Model Aquatic Health Code, published by the CDC, recommends using secondary and supplemental sanitizers that keep working where chlorine stops. Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) is the most powerful option on the market.

AOP combines ozone and UV-C technology to remove organic material from water. The result is highly-reactive oxidizers called hydroxyl radicals that can destroy 99.9% of harmful contaminants. This oxidation of contaminants happens almost instantly.

By allowing AOP to oxidize organic and inorganic compounds, chlorine is free to work better. Even with AOP, it’s important to have a residual sanitizer in the pool. While AOP destroys microorganisms and breaks down chloramines, chlorine reacts with contaminants in the open water, including when the pump is off. To learn more about how AOP keeps pools safer, visit

When looking at AOP systems, it’s important to consider efficacy. Choosing systems that meet NSF/ANSI 50 requirements for supplemental disinfection ensure a product is backed by science and proven test methods. This helps take the guess-work out of choosing the right system.

Combining an advanced sanitizer with a residual sanitizer is an integral part of modern pools. The news reports might be scary, but it is possible to keep a pool safe from crypto. Every pool can stay clean, clear and safe with advanced sanitizers.

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