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Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI)


Due to the increase in the popularity of swimming as a means of recreation and as a means of exercise the chance of being exposed to a water-borne illness has increased tremendously. Due to the amount of bodily exposure in a swimming pool the chance of disease transmission is greatly increased. These illnesses may cause a variety of problems varying from eye, ear and skin irritation to respiratory and gastrointestinal distress. Also any open wounds could become infected by any bacteria or viruses in the water.

Anyone may become infected with a RWI. However, children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems are the most likely to be infected with and have a severe reaction to a water-borne disease.

There are many different forms of RWIs, but the according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) those listed below are the most commonly reported:

Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium)
Giardia
Shigella
E. coli O157:H7

The CDC has developed some very helpful pointers in protecting yourself and others from the spread of water-borne illness. These are the: Six "PLEAs" For Healthy Swimming: Protection Against Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs).

In addition to the Six "PLEAs" the CDC has also developed the 12 Steps for Prevention of Recreational Water Illnesses (pdf) for Aquatic Facility Staff.

 

Clayton County Board of Health
Office of Environmental Health Services

685 Forest Parkway, Forest Park, GA 30297
Phone: (678) 610-7469   Fax: (770) 603-4874