Swimming pool tummy bug cases double

Last updated 11:13 21/03/2013

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A spike in cryptosporidium cases in the Wellington region has prompted a warning from health officials for people to take extra care before using public swimming pools.

Regional Public Health medical officer Dr Margot McLean said 31 cases of cryptosporidium had been reported since February.

This was about twice more than expected, she said.

Of those 31 cases, half the people had reported using public swimming pools around Wellington, Dr McLean said.

It was believed some of the cases were caused by people swimming too soon after being sick with diarrhoea, she said.

''If people do have diarrhoea, we advise them to stay away from the pools for two weeks after they are better.''

Public Health was working with pool managers to ensure systems were in place to reduce the risk.

People should always wash before using public swimming pools, Dr McLean said.

Cryptosporidium is a parasite which lives in the intestines of people, birds and animals.

It produces cysts (eggs) that can survive in the environment for a long time.

It  is most often spread by hands contaminated with faeces during toilet use or nappy
changing.

From hands it can spread to surfaces, toys, food and water.

It can also spread in shared water such as swimming pools.

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- The Dominion Post

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