No. 1 Swimming Pool Problem? It's Number 2. - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

No. 1 Swimming Pool Problem? It's Number 2.

By Maggie Fox, Senior Writer, NBC News

People always worry about pee in the pool, but number two is the No. 1 problem, government health experts say. They found plenty of evidence that someone's pooping in the pool.

It's not only disgusting, but it's evidence that people are not following basic hygiene rules, says Michele Hlavsa, chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy Swimming Program.

"It is time to stop treating the swimming pool as a toilet," Hlavsa told NBC News. "Nowhere else except for the pool is it acceptable to poop in public or pee in public. In other places if we did this in public, we'd be arrested."

CDC and county health officials tested the pools in four Georgia counties last summer for the study. They got water out of the pool filters and ran tests for microbes – especially E. coli, which lives inside the bodies of animals and which is carried in feces. If E. coli is somewhere, it likely got there via feces.

"Escherichia coli, a fecal indicator, was detected in 93 (58 percent) samples; detection signifies that swim­mers introduced fecal material into pool water," Hlavsa's team wrote in CDC's weekly report on disease and death.

"We don't know how it got in there. It either washed off somebody's body or somebody had a bowel movement in the pool," Hlavsa said.

Regular bowel movements – what CDC delicately refers to as a "formed fecal incident" – isn't so much a worry. But diarrhea is. Diarrhea carries the germs that caused the illness right into the water, and the chlorine doesn't kill it instantly.

The good news is that there were no reports of sickness outbreaks at any of the pools tested last summer – or anywhere else in Georgia last summer, for that matter, Hlavsa says. But every year there are between 20 and 80 disease outbreaks associated with public pools – and those are just the ones that get reported, Hlavsa says.

The other piece of good news is that there weren't too many other pathogens in the pools. Only one sample of Cryptosporidium, a common cause of diarrhea, showed up. Two samples of a parasite called Giardia were found – that one can cause a very uncomfortable stomach upset. Viruses such as adenovirus, which causes colds, and norovirus, which causes "stomach flu," can survive in swimming pools.

The E. coli in the pool didn't necessarily come from a bowel movement, Hlavsa said -- and this is why it's important to actually obey the signs that virtually everyone ignores about showering before going into the pool.

"The average person has about .14 grams of feces on their rear end," Hlavsa said. "If that rinses off into the water, the amount from one person might not be that much. But as more and more swimmers introduce it that much, it does become an issue."

She's actually done the math.

"Let's imagine 1,000 kids go to a water park. They have as much as 10 grams of feces on their rear ends," she said.  "We are now talking about 10,000 grams or 10 kg. That translates to 24 pounds of poop in the water."

So one important rule – never swallow the water from a swimming pool. "Basically, these pools are big bathtubs we all share together," Hlavsa said.

She doesn't want to scare anyone away from swimming, which is, after all, a great way to exercise. "As soon as the weather gets warm enough here in Atlanta, I plan to swim," Hlavsa said.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spokane neighbors shocked after dogs pepper sprayed

    Spokane neighbors shocked after dogs pepper sprayed

    Sunday, September 24 2017 9:08 PM EDT2017-09-25 01:08:37 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two families are still left shocked after they say someone sprayed their dogs with pepper spray. This happened on Saturday night around 9 p.m. near Hays Park. Eric Eitzman says he was inside his home when he heard his dog and his neighbor’s dogs start barking. He opened the door and his dog ran inside. That’s when his daughter grabbed the dog and said she smelled.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Two families are still left shocked after they say someone sprayed their dogs with pepper spray. This happened on Saturday night around 9 p.m. near Hays Park. Eric Eitzman says he was inside his home when he heard his dog and his neighbor’s dogs start barking. He opened the door and his dog ran inside. That’s when his daughter grabbed the dog and said she smelled.

    >>
  • One killed, two injured in Highway 195 crash south of Rosalia

    One killed, two injured in Highway 195 crash south of Rosalia

    Sunday, September 24 2017 3:19 PM EDT2017-09-24 19:19:33 GMT

    ROSALIA, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports one person is dead after a crash on Highway 195 Saturday night.  It happened around 10:30 p.m. about one mile south of Rosalia. Troopers say a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer driven by 36-year-old Joshua J.Kenyon was northbound on 195 and a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, driven 37-year-old Angela C. Pressnal, was headed southbound on the highway.

    >>

    ROSALIA, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports one person is dead after a crash on Highway 195 Saturday night.  It happened around 10:30 p.m. about one mile south of Rosalia. Troopers say a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer driven by 36-year-old Joshua J.Kenyon was northbound on 195 and a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, driven 37-year-old Angela C. Pressnal, was headed southbound on the highway.

    >>
  • Jury: Former Spokane deputy guilty of stealing federal funds

    Jury: Former Spokane deputy guilty of stealing federal funds

    Sunday, September 24 2017 1:02 PM EDT2017-09-24 17:02:05 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A former Spokane County Sheriff's deputy has been convicted of lying to fraudulently obtain federal assistance. The Spokesman-Review reports that a jury on Friday found former Spokane County Sheriff's jailer Donald B. Henderson guilty of stealing roughly $650,000 from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veteran Affairs for more than a decade.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A former Spokane County Sheriff's deputy has been convicted of lying to fraudulently obtain federal assistance. The Spokesman-Review reports that a jury on Friday found former Spokane County Sheriff's jailer Donald B. Henderson guilty of stealing roughly $650,000 from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veteran Affairs for more than a decade.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • D.C. child confuses pet store with power company, gets hamster anyway

    D.C. child confuses pet store with power company, gets hamster anyway

    Friday, September 22 2017 8:54 PM EDT2017-09-23 00:54:14 GMT
    @PepcoConnect twitter@PepcoConnect twitter

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a mailing mix up, a little girl in Washington, D.C. sent her letter asking pet supply store Petco asking for a hamster to Pepco, a D.C. utility company. Despite her minor mix up, her letter seemed to win over the power company.  Cynthia McCabe, Pepco's Communications Director, tweeted that customer services representatives decided to make Serenity's wish come true and gave her a hamster anyway. What a lucky 

    >>

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a mailing mix up, a little girl in Washington, D.C. sent her letter asking pet supply store Petco asking for a hamster to Pepco, a D.C. utility company. Despite her minor mix up, her letter seemed to win over the power company.  Cynthia McCabe, Pepco's Communications Director, tweeted that customer services representatives decided to make Serenity's wish come true and gave her a hamster anyway. What a lucky 

    >>
  • Colorado principal, assistant out after forced-splits video

    Colorado principal, assistant out after forced-splits video

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:57 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:57:52 GMT

    DENVER, Co. (AP) - A Colorado principal has retired and an athletic director has resigned after videos surfaced showing a high school cheerleading coach pushing cheerleaders down in splits. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg also on Friday released a report by a law firm that the district ordered after learning about the videos in August. Officials have said the school administrators saw at least one of the videos in June and 

    >>

    DENVER, Co. (AP) - A Colorado principal has retired and an athletic director has resigned after videos surfaced showing a high school cheerleading coach pushing cheerleaders down in splits. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg also on Friday released a report by a law firm that the district ordered after learning about the videos in August. Officials have said the school administrators saw at least one of the videos in June and 

    >>
  • Strahan Family opens up memorial to the public

    Strahan Family opens up memorial to the public

    Friday, September 22 2017 6:28 PM EDT2017-09-22 22:28:02 GMT

    In a media release from the Strahan family, they said: "The Strahan family invites the public to join them in a memorial service celebrating the life of their son Sam Strahan. The service starts at 2:00 pm in the University High School Gym. The family is so appreciative of the outpouring of love from so many people throughout this community. We hope everyone can join them for this celebration. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."

    >>

    In a media release from the Strahan family, they said: "The Strahan family invites the public to join them in a memorial service celebrating the life of their son Sam Strahan. The service starts at 2:00 pm in the University High School Gym. The family is so appreciative of the outpouring of love from so many people throughout this community. We hope everyone can join them for this celebration. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."

    >>