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POOL PLANT – HYGIENE MANAGEMENT Calls For Better


Standards And Training In Response To Pool Hygiene Survey


SPN TALKED TO ROBBIE PHILLIPS, STA’S SENIOR POOL PLANT TUTOR AND REPORTS ON THE RESULTS OF A SURVEY COMMISSIONED BY STA WHICH FOCUSED ON HYGIENE IN PUBLIC POOLS


W


ith literature constantly being released regarding the threat of bacteria such as Legionella and Cryptosporidium, STA, the UK’s


leading authority on pool plant management, recently commissioned a public survey to understand the hygiene habits of pool users. In the survey, a quarter of public pool users admitted they do not take a shower before entering the water, with women being the biggest offenders. Twenty seven per cent of women said they did not shower, compared with 18% of men, even though it is essential for users’ health and to maintain good pool hygiene. The survey also revealed that one in four people have urinated in a public swimming pool, with one in ten confessing they had done it deliberately – men aged 18-34 years were cited as the worst culprits this time. Robbie Phillips, STA’s Senior Pool Plant


Tutor said the findings from the survey should be cause for concern for any pool operator, adding that it demonstrated how crucial it is for the industry to educate the public on scrupulous hygiene management. “For decades, public health authorities have recommended the pre-swim shower. Yet, our survey found that one in four pool users do not deem it necessary to shower before going into the pool. In our effort to improve pool hygiene standards we want to help the leisure industry ‘connect the dots’ on this issue through education and ‘fit for purpose’ pool plant training,” said Robbie. The survey also indicated people’s knowledge of the rules of using the swimming pool after a stomach upset. Worryingly for leisure managers, one in five respondents said they would return to the swimming pool within 48 hours of suffering a stomach upset that included diarrhoea.


In fact, 12% of respondents said they would go swimming the following day, 4% said immediately, while 3% said they would return before it had stopped. Robbie Phillips, STA’s Pool Plant expert confirmed that the regulations state that people


38 April 2013 SPN www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk


should not swim for 48 hours after the last bout of diarrhoea and two weeks if it is suspected or medically confirmed that the diarrhoea was caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium. “Operators and managers may know that it is recommended that anyone who has had diarrhoea should stay away from the pool for at least 48 hours after the last diarrhoea incident to ensure the infection is out of their system, but we should not expect swimmers to know that,” advised Robbie. It is therefore essential to provide adequate signage and advice at the entrance point.


ABOUT CRYPTOSPORIDIUM Cryptosporidium and Giardia are protozoan parasites that cause acute gastroenteritis, which often lasts up to two weeks; however, known cases have lasted even longer. Chronic, long term infection with Giardia can also occur. Cryptosporidium and Giardia are single celled organisms (protozoans) that inhabit the human gut where they thrive and


multiply. Part of their life cycle involves the formation of dormant ‘spores’ that act like a protective shell. These spores (known as Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts) are the mechanism for the transmission from one human host to another. The main symptoms are watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever and vomiting, with flatulence and ‘eggy burps’ in addition with Giardia. Cryptosporidium oocysts are especially resistant to the chlorine disinfection in swimming pools and patients are known to have shed the Cryptopsoridium oocysts for up to two weeks after the symptoms have ceased. “This is why people with diarrhoea must not swim and people with cryptopsoridiosis must not swim for two weeks after symptoms have ceased,” reconfirmed Robbie. The oocysts are about 5 microns in diameter and are shed via stools in huge numbers (106


to 107


Ingestion of fewer than 10 oocysts may be sufficient to cause infection.


STA highlight the importance of pool plant


training to maintain a safe pool environment


per gram stool).


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