Experts Call On Leisure Centres To Meet Hygiene Responsibilities
Illness experts at Irwin Mitchell have welcomed new Public Health Wales guidance on swimming hygiene following an increase in cases of cryptosporidium linked to pools, but urged authorities to ensure they also play their part in keeping the public safe from harm.
The health body has confirmed that 283 cases of illness caused by the water-borne infection have been reported so far this year up to the end of September 2012, which is significantly higher than the figure of 248 reported across the whole of last year.
Notable incidents include an outbreak at a the Newport Centre in the country, which was temporarily closed as part of a clean-up operation after 20 cases were reported as having cryptosporidiosis which can survive despite the presence of chlorine in pools.
Public Health Wales has reminded swimmers to ensure anyone who has suffered diarrhoea to not go swimming for at least 48 hours following the end of such symptoms, as well as for anyone diagnosed with cryptosporidium to avoid using pools for 14 days after their symptoms have ceased.
Irwin Mitchell’s specialist illness lawyers represent a vast number of people who have suffered health problems as a result of outbreaks in the UK and abroad, helping them to gain answers over the ordeals they have endured.
The team also currently acting for victims caught up in two major outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease seen in Stoke-on-Trent and Edinburgh in the past six months.
Suki Chhokar, a Partner and specialist in Illness cases at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We have seen numerous occasions when cryptosporidium and other bacteria have caused huge problems for swimmers, leaving them with long-term health problems from which they often never fully recover.
“The release of this advice is a timely reminder to swimmers about their responsibilities when they are ill to take precautions to avoid potentially passing such infections on to other people.
“However, protecting the general public from outbreaks is about more than just swimmers. It is also about ensuring effective pool management is in place at leisure centres across Wales and the UK.
“There are clear guidelines in place related to this issue and ensuring they are followed is absolutely essential, particularly as the recirculation of water means that it must be both filtered and disinfected to prevent any harmful bacteria from developing in the pool system.
“Good pool management is needed to ensure that any contamination is dealt with promptly and appropriately. Thorough pre swimming showers should be encouraged by parents. Babies should not swim in nappies, but rather special baby swimming trunks.
“Any contamination in the pool needs to be dealt with quickly and thoroughly, while pools should also always be designed in a manner which ensures a quality level of circulation which can help to ensure that water is safe.”