Over 1000 sick from Norovirus at four Finland beaches

The City of Tampere has announced on its web-page that its officials have removed the signs advising people against swimming in the four lakes linked to a recent outbreak of a stomach virus – Tohloppijärvi, Tesomajärvi, Suolijärvi and Kaukajärvi.

norovirus.swimOverall, over one thousand people fell ill with a stomach bug in Tampere. The city also revealed on Tuesday that traces of norovirus were found in the majority of stool samples taken from the affected swimmers.

57 sick; norovirus strikes Scottish swimmers

Swimming is dangerous is Scotland too – and not always because of monsters.

Over 50 people took ill after taking part in an open water swimming event at Strathclyde Loch.

They suffered sickness, stomach cramps and diarrhoea following the race which attracted 70 entrants from across Scotland.

None of those affected are thought to have been hospitalised, however, the loch has now been closed to water sports and boating.

Some of those who fell sick tested positive for norovirus. Experts believe heavy rain prior to the event may have contaminated the water.

A Motherwell Masters Amateur Swimming Club source said six members of their club took part and were “very ill.” They had to seek medical advice following the event and some were off work for a week, she added.

The event, the Western Districts Open Water Swimming Championships, took place on June 23.

Don’t swim in poop: outbreak of E. coli O157 associated with lake swimming at a Pennsylvania State Park

In Aug. 2011, Terry Brady, a spokesperson with Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said that the lake at Cowans Gap State Park remained open, despite links to three cases of E. coli O157. “The beaches are open and actually there was a good turnout today. A link to the park has not been established."

The lake was closed the next day. Eighteen people, primarily kids, were identified with E. coli O157:H7; 10 were hospitalized. An additional 24 people were classified as suspected cases.

Swimming can be risky.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has issued a report Cowan’s Gap E. coli outbreak. Excerpts below:

On Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) was notified by an infection preventionist at a local hospital of two children with HUS who had both reported recent visits to the same Pennsylvania State Park. One of these patients also tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. By Friday, Aug. 5, there were additional reports of E. coli in persons with exposure to the state park and its beach area.

After initial notification, the Department of Health contacted the Bureau of State Parks in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Several hypotheses were initially posed as explanations for this E. coli cluster: coincidence (this is a large lake with many swimmers each year), consumption of contaminated food or water at a nearby establishment, consumption of contaminated food or water from the park, or swimming in the park lake.

Information was gathered about previous inspections of the concession stand, water-testing results from the beach area, and other significant events at the lake.

On the recommendation of DOH, at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9, DCNR closed the lake to all water activities, including swimming, boating and fishing. On Aug. 10, DOH conducted a site visit to the park along with DCNR and DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) to view the beach, camping sites, dumping stations and other potential opportunities for contamination of water. Small samples were collected from the beach water and sediment and sent to the DOH Bureau of Laboratories for testing. DEP also sent red dye through the sewer system to check for leaks into the lake. On Aug. 11, 100 liters of water were passed through a large-volume filtration system and sent to CDC as an additional attempt to detect organisms.

Eighteen confirmed and probable cases were identified throughout the course of the investigation. Thirteen of these cases were confirmed through a diagnosis of HUS and/or lab-identification of E. coli O157:H7. Ten of the 13 confirmed cases were hospitalized, and one was known to be a secondary case, exposed to another confirmed case but not the lake itself. The majority of the cases (61 percent) were 10 years old or younger. Many of the cases were exposed between July 30 and Aug. 1, although many went to the park and swam on multiple days.

Additionally, 24 persons were classified as suspect cases because they had reported GI symptoms and exposure to the lake; no additional data was available to classify these cases further. All 11 culture-positive cases had matching PFGE patterns with an uncommon two-enzyme combination that had not been seen nationally since December 2010.

The lake had a shallow swimming area along the beach, delineated by buoys. There were recently built, functioning shower and rest-room facilities adjacent to the concession stand, both easily accessible to beach users. There was an on-site water treatment plant down-stream from the lake and no critical deficiencies were found. The red dye which was placed in the sewer system was not subsequently observed in the lake, indicating there were no leaks from the sewer system into the lake water. All water and sediment samples tested failed to grow E. coli O157:H7.

While the lake water did not test positive for E. coli O157:H7, the epidemiology clearly indicates the lake as the source of transmission. The lake was the only common factor among all of the cases, and 100 percent of the primary cases reported swimming in the lake. The vast majority of the cases in this outbreak were children. The original source of contamination of the lake was unable to be determined, though it is likely from a person who was swimming while ill.

(why? what evidence? thought the origin was unable to be determined?)

The predominance of children is typical for outbreaks of E.coli O157:H7. The shallow, warm water of this beach makes it a popular site for children; children interact with recreational water very differently than adults and are more likely to accidentally swallow water. Children are also more likely to shed the bacteria after symptoms have resolved, putting other children at risk while playing together in the water or while interacting in other settings. This is particularly a problem with diapered children.

Public health messages about healthy swimming need to continue to be communicated, particularly at places with lots of children. The public needs to be reminded not to swim, or allow their children to swim, when they are experiencing diarrhea. Parents should try to keep their children from swallowing swimming water as much as possible. Finally, practicing good hygiene before and after swimming will help prevent contamination of water.

Crypto spreading in Adelaide swimming pools?

Adelaide Now reports that 28 people carrying cryptosporidium may have infected public pools, but South Australia Health has issued no public warning.

Between January and March, SA Health was notified of 28 cases of cryptosporidium where the person reported swimming at a public pool.

SA Health asked seven swimming centres across the metropolitan area to decontaminate their pools to prevent transmission of the infection.

The Advertiser was alerted to the situation when it obtained a copy of a text message sent to members of the Adelaide Aquatic Centre advising them the pool would be closed for super-chlorination.

Adelaide City Council confirmed the Aquatic Centre was aware an infected person had used the pool.

An SA Health spokesman said, "This is within the normal levels we would expect to see – there has certainly been no spike. If there were large numbers then we would issue a public alert.

"SA Health emphasises the importance of observing hand hygiene and people with diarrhoea not sharing baths or swimming in public pools for 14 days after their symptoms have stopped."

NCAA swimming and diving delaying because of barf

Basketball is interminably dull.

The first college game I ever went to on Jan. 30, 2008, Kansas State beat the University of Kansas – who went on to win the national crown – for the first time in 24 years.

All games should be like that. They’re not.

But I’ll watch tonight as K-State goes up against Xavier in a sweet-16 showdown, the first time K-State has been to that particular dance since 1988.

What would be a great storyline is if West Virginia met K-State for the final. Bob Huggins was rescued from career oblivion when they hired him as coach a few years ago. Huggins repaid K-State’s generosity by leaving after one year.

Locals are still upset.

But he left behind assistant coach Frank Martin, who’s turned K-State into a national competitor. The prodigy going up against the mentor. It would be like me and Chapman going on an all-nerd food safety Reach for the Top (trivia note: Chapman was actually on Reach for the Top or whatever the Ontario version was called when he was in high school).

In other NCAA news, the start of the Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships has been delayed 24 hours to Friday after 18 student-athletes and a coach were treated for a possible gastrointestinal illness since arriving in Columbus, Ohio.

K-State’s Bramlage Coliseum would make an excellent hockey arena.

Do you pee in the pool? Survey says, yes

That’s me and Sorenne in the pool in Phoenix last week. And I’m pretty sure one of us, at some point, peed in the pool.And I’m pretty sure all the drunk fashionistas at the afternoon pool parties emptied themselves in the pool.

A new study by the Water Quality and Health Council found that nearly one in five adults admits to urinating in a swimming pool instead of using the toilet.

Eight in 10 adults are convinced their fellow swimmers are guilty of such a crime, the study said.

Nevertheless, health officials insist that swimming in and even swallowing urine-contaminated water isn’t harmful to someone’s health.

Don Herrington from the Arizona Health Department, "Urine in itself has been purified through a whole variety of bodily processes so that it’s removed a lot of the contaminants in it.”

Swimmers should be more concerned about swallowing parasites than swallowing urine, officials said, especially cryptosporidium.

Phoenix Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Amy Blakeney urged sick swimmers to stay out of the pool.

New study says keep poopy kids out of pools — swim diapers not best solution

It was about 105 F when Amy and Sorenne and I touched down in Phoenix yesterday afternoon, to visit family and do some work. Pools – and air conditioning – become increasingly popular in Phoenix and elsewhere as the temperatures climb.

So that means the annual increase of cryptosporidium and other bugs related to exposure in swimming pools. Debate has raged over the past couple of years in various communities: what’s the best way to keep poop out of pools, especially with kids in diapers (I have one of those).

The U.S. National Swimming Pool Foundation marked the emergence of summer by sending out a press release today about some research presented in March by researchers from University of North Carolina-Charlotte that found swim diapers help slow the release of disease-causing germs, but the benefits are short lived.

The researchers measured the amount of microspheres that released from swim diapers worn by children. The microspheres have a similar size (five microns) to that of Crypto. Normal swim trunks, common disposable diapers and reusable diapers with and without vinyl diaper covers were tested. Swimming trunks without a swim diaper of any kind had the poorest performance – almost 90% of the microspheres were released into the water within one minute.

Swim diapers released about 50% of the microspheres within one minute. A vinyl diaper cover placed over a disposable swim diaper slightly improved performance. Still, over 25% were released into the water within two minutes.

"When a fecal accident contains about a billion disease-causing Crypto oocysts, hundreds of millions of oocysts get into the water within minutes," explains Dr. James Amburgey, the lead scientist in the study. "Swimmers only need to ingest about ten Crypto oocysts to become infected."

"This study confirms that parental restraint is the key to preventing Crypto outbreaks – not swim diapers. Swimming with diarrhea is irresponsible because it places other people’s health at risk," reinforces Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO of the National Swimming Pool Foundation(R) (NSPF(R)) who funded the research.

53 sick with Giardia in Ilkley, U.K.

Health officials urged people suffering symptoms of giardia lamblia to stay away from swimming pools as the number of infected people climbed to 53.

The Ilkley Gazette reports that the investigations continue to focus on Saffron restaurant, Station Plaza, currently closed for refurbishment, after local water supplies were ruled out.

The incubation period for the bug can be up to 25 days, and those who have contracted the illness may not show symptoms until then.

The PCT is still advising anyone with the symptoms of diarrhoea, gas or flatulence, indigestion, nausea, stomach cramps, bloatedness and lethargy, to see their GP. The trust also advises food handlers and health care workers who show the symptoms to seek advice about continuing to work.

Sounds like most people in the U.S. after Thanksgiving yesterday.