Media Release: January 11, 2016

South Australians are urged to practice good personal hygiene if they are unwell with gastroenteritis, to avoid the spread of Cryptosporidium, one of Australia’s leading causes of water-related illnesses.

Recreation SA Executive Officer, Rebecca Deans, said while reports of Cryptosporidium were at record levels this summer, SA public pools remain a safe and enjoyable destination.

"The SA Aquatic industry is proactive in ensuring recreational public pools stay clean all summer so the public can enjoy a swim whenever they like," Mrs Deans said.

“However we do know Crypto can be traced to recreational swimming pools if used by people infected with the parasite, as the parasite can survive for days even in properly chlorinated pools.

“Despite the SA aquatic industry adhering to best-practice guidelines, if an unwell person or someone who has been unwell within the previous 2 weeks uses a pool, there is a risk they could spread the parasite to others.

“Therefore it’s important for people to act responsibly if they are struck by gastroenteritis, so that everybody can enjoy the hot summer, free from illness."

Mrs Deans said SA Health figures showed a majority of Crypto reports in 2014 were not related to public swimming pools, with 60 per cent of cases linked to other causes including contact with livestock, petting zoos and child care centres.

“We know this month’s record-breaking heat is set to continue throughout summer, and we all want to keep enjoying the facilities at our local pools, so Recreation SA and pool operators are urging you to think of others and practice good personal hygiene.”

To date, only two South Australian pools have been advised to undertake a precautionary decontamination this summer.

SA Health advises anyone with diarrhoea to stay away from swimming in pools – private or public – for two weeks.

"Whether you are swimming in a public pool, or in your own pool or at a friend’s, please remember a few basic guidelines and everybody can continue to have fun in a safe environment.”

Mrs Deans said Recreation SA member swimming pools continue to work positively with SA Government agencies to ensure minimal risk and disruption to patrons if the parasite is linked to its swimming centre.

Recreation SA is the state’s peak aquatics industry body, representing 45 South Australian swimming centres.  

For all media enquiries please contact Recreation SA : Rebecca Deans 0418 849 122

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cryptosporidium Facts:

Cryptosporidium is a germ that causes diarrhoea or vomiting. Cryptosporidium parasites are found in the faeces of humans as well as farm animals and are commonly spread by contact with people who are already infected, livestock or contaminated water.

Crypto can make anyone sick, but certain groups of people are more likely to become seriously ill when infected with Crypto, including young children, pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems.

Crypto Do’s and Don’ts:

Don’t get in the pool if you have diarrhoea
Don’t get in the pool 2 weeks after having diarrhoea
Change nappies in nappy change areas, not poolside
Put babies and toddlers in appropriate well-fitting swimming nappies
Shower and wash with soap before you swim
Try not to get pool water in your mouth