Media Release December 30, 2015

South Australians are being reminded to act responsibly during the state’s record-breaking hot summer if they are unwell with gastroenteritis, following a spike in notifications of Cryptosporidium, one of Australia’s leading causes of water-related illnesses.

Recreation SA Executive Officer, Rebecca Deans, said while reports of Cryptosporidium, also known as Crypto, was double the number recorded at the same time last year, she reminded the public the State’s pools remained safe to use.

“No South Australian public pool has had to temporarily close its doors because of Crypto since July and we want it to stay that way,” Mrs Deans said.

She 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.

“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.

“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.”

Mrs Deans said the most recent SA figures showed there had been 391 notifications of the Cryptosporidium parasite, as of December 12, compared to 185 notifications during the same period last year.

She said 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.

In 2014 there was a total of 201 Crypto notifications.

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