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J Water Health. 2011 Dec;9(4):653-8. doi: 10.2166/wh.2011.063.

Disposable swim diaper retention of Cryptosporidium-sized particles on human subjects in a recreational water setting.

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  • 1Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, NC 28223-0001, USA. jeamburg@uncc.edu


Cryptosporidium is a chlorine-resistant protozoan parasite responsible for the majority of waterborne disease outbreaks in recreational water venues in the USA. Swim diapers are commonly used by diaper-aged children participating in aquatic activities. This research was intended to evaluate disposable swim diapers for retaining 5-μm diameter polystyrene microspheres, which were used as non-infectious surrogates for Cryptosporidium oocysts. A hot tub recirculating water without a filter was used for this research. The microsphere concentration in the water was monitored at regular intervals following introduction of microspheres inside of a swim diaper while a human subject undertook normal swim/play activities. Microsphere concentrations in the bulk water showed that the majority (50-97%) of Cryptosporidium-sized particles were released from the swim diaper within 1 to 5 min regardless of the swim diaper type or configuration. After only 10 min of play, 77-100% of the microspheres had been released from all swim diapers tested. This research suggests that the swim diapers commonly used by diaper-aged children in swimming pools and other aquatic activities are of limited value in retaining Cryptosporidium-sized particles. Improved swim diaper solutions are necessary to efficiently retain pathogens and effectively safeguard public health in recreational water venues.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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