Recreational Water Illnesses Ruin Summer Fun

Source: EMR-ISAC

Summer is the time for water sports and recreation. Pools, water parks, lakes, streams, and hot tubs draw people to cool off, exercise, and enjoy times with friends and families. Manmade and natural bodies of water can also be a source of water illnesses including norovirus, E. coli, giardia, shigella, and cryptosporidium.

The medical community likely sees more of these cases this time of year and should be familiar with the causes, symptoms, and transmission of recreational water illnesses (RWI). People can contract these illnesses through contact with contaminated water such as swallowing or breathing mist. Symptoms run the gamut of gastrointestinal issues through various types of infection (e.g., skin, wound, ear, eye, neurological).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides health workers with several resources, including prevention education toolkits and a list of other resources such as a model aquatic health code and an outbreak response toolkit. Several states and municipalities, such as New York City and Minnesota, also have fact sheets on RWI; check with your local health department.