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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 May 18;61(19):348-52.

Promotion of healthy swimming after a statewide outbreak of cryptosporidiosis associated with recreational water venues--Utah, 2008-2009.


During the summer of 2007, Utah experienced a statewide outbreak of gastrointestinal illness caused by Cryptosporidium, a parasite transmitted via the fecal-oral route. Approximately 5,700 outbreak-related cases were identified across the state. Of 1,506 interviewed patients with laboratory-confirmed cryptosporidiosis, 1,209 (80%) reported swimming in at least one of approximately 450 recreational water venues during their potential 14-day incubation period. Cryptosporidium is extremely chlorine-tolerant, and secondary or supplemental disinfection with ultraviolet light or ozone can control but not prevent outbreaks. Because swimmers are the primary source of Cryptosporidium contamination, healthy swimming campaigns are needed to increase awareness and practice of healthy swimming behaviors, especially not swimming while ill with diarrhea (i.e., swimming while ill with diarrhea can lead to gross contamination of recreational water). Before the 2008 summer swimming season, Utah public health agencies launched a multimedia healthy swimming campaign. To assess knowledge of healthy swimming, a survey of Utah residents was conducted during July-September 2008. The results of that survey found that 96.1% of respondents correctly indicated that "it is not OK to swim if you have diarrhea." In a separate national survey in 2009, 100% of Utah residents but only 78.4% of residents of other states correctly indicated that "not swimming while ill with diarrhea protects others from recreational water illnesses (RWIs)." No recreational water-associated outbreaks were detected in Utah during 2008-2011. The healthy swimming campaign, as part of a multipronged prevention effort, might have helped prevent recreational water-associated outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis in Utah.

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