Fecal Contamination Frequent in Public Pools; Here's How to Protect Yourself


According to a report released this week found an unwanted swimmer in many public pools in the U.S. -- feces.

A CDC study of public pools done during last summer’s swim season found that feces are frequently introduced into pool water by swimmers.  The study found that 58 percent of the pool filter samples tested were positive for E. coli, bacteria normally found in the human gut and feces. The E. coli is a marker for fecal contamination.

Finding a high percentage of E. coli-positive filters indicates swimmers frequently contaminate pool water when they have a fecal incident in the water or when feces rinse off of their bodies because they do not shower thoroughly before getting into the water. No samples tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, a toxin-producing E. coli strain that causes illness.

CDC recommends that all swimmers take the following steps to prevent infections while swimming:

CDC recommends that parents of young children also take the following steps:

Keep feces and other contaminants out of the water.
Do not swim when you have diarrhea.
Shower with soap before you start swimming.
Take a rinse shower before you get back into the water.
Take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes.
Wash your hands with soap after using the toilet or changing diapers.
Check the chlorine level and pH before getting into the water; m
ost superstores, hardware stores, and pool-supply stores sell pool test strips.
Do not swallow the water you swim in.

CDC recommends that parents of young children also take the following steps:

Take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30–60 minutes.
Change diapers in the bathroom or diaper-changing area and not at poolside where germs can rinse into the water.

View the CDC's Healthy Swimming/Recreational Water page by clicking HERE.


From USA Today: Why you don't want to drink the pool water

From the New York Times: Fecal Matter Found in Public Pools

Health.com: Many Public Pools Contaminated With Human Waste