|FECAL ACCIDENTS - A PROTOCOL FOR POOLS & SPAS
What should I do to handle fecal and vomiting accidents in the swimming pool or spa?
Swimming pools have been the subject of much public attention in recent years. E. Coli O157 H7, Crytosporidia, Giardia and other organisms have been making the news as people become ill from the organisms after swimming.
Swimming and bathing in swimming pools has become increasingly popular. Unfortunately, in addition to providing fun, the water also washes away dirt, oils, bacteria, perspiration, dead skin, and fecal material from our bodies. These contaminants can accumulate to dangerous levels in the absence of corrective measures. We have tried to reduce the risks by first providing better dilution by constantly flushing water through the pool and, in more recent years, by filtration and disinfection as clean water resources have become more scarce.
Over time, public pools have come under stricter and more stringent rules regarding pool water quality. We have reached the point where the public expects pool water to be as clean and safe as their tap water. We can do a lot to keep the water clean and healthy, but no one can totally eliminate the risks associated with swimming.
Most organisms found in a pool are killed very quickly. Usually a few seconds of disinfection is enough time to kill 99.9% of the organisms. Recently, however, we have begun to see organisms such as Cryptosporidia which are very resistant to disinfection. Unfortunately, Crypto causes very watery diarrhea, so these accidents are seldom noticed or reported. When contamination does occur, it can only be identified after people start becoming ill, a week or more after contamination of the pool. Anyone entering the water can contribute harmful organisms which could cause an infection. High-risk groups, diaper-age children and immuno-compromised persons (cancer patients, persons with transplants and persons with active HIV infections) are of special concern. Diaper-age children are a greater problem because they are most likely to have an accident, and they also ingest the pool water. Immuno-compromised persons are more at risk because they cannot fight off the organisms.
This policy calls for a two-pronged approach. First, educate the public that there are risks involved in swimming and of what they can do to reduce these risks. Secondly, treat identified fecal accidents as if they contain the more easily killed organisms, because accidents containing Cryptosoridia are not often noticed nor reported before people begin to get sick.
POLICY/ INTERPRETATION/ GUIDELINE:
PREPARE A PLAN:
HANDLING THE FECAL ACCIDENT:
The development of these guidelines was a cooperative effort of a committee made up of pool operators, sanitarians, state swimming-pool program staff and state epidemiologists.
We felt that over-treatment of the pool, in an effort to deal with every accident as if it involved Crypto, was unrealistic. Reviewing reported outbreaks indicate that the Crypto fecal accidents are not evident until people become ill.
All fecal and vomiting accidents are handled basically the same way.
Well-formed Stools / Vomit
Any material removed from the pool should be disposed of in a biohazard waste bag. Clean your equipment and wash your hands.
As the stool becomes less and less-formed, the procedure would transition from the well-formed procedure to the procedure for diarrhea.
For limited-use pools:
Follow the above procedures for the diarrhea, except allow additional downtime and close the pool during the above process. Keep the pool closed at least an hour, and up to one turnover of your pool for loose stools and diarrhea.
In addition to the above, it is also important that the pool and pool area be kept clean and disinfected, this includes the dressing, toilet and shower areas.
Maintaining your pool recirculation rates and proper functioning of filtration systems, while frequently checking and maintaining proper disinfectant levels, will also provide significant levels of protection from the risk of spreading a disease-causing organism.
What do you do when someone tells you he or she currently has an ongoing Cryptosporidia infection and just had an accident in your pool?
In this unlikely event:
State of Oregon
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