Outbreak of cryptosporidiosis investigated in NewportTuesday, 11 September 2012
Public Health Wales and the Environmental Health departments of Newport City Council and Torfaen County Borough Council are investigating an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in the Gwent area.
Of 14 cases since the start of August, seven had used the swimming pool at Newport Centre during the period when they would have been exposed to the cryptosporidium bug.
Water sampling at the pool has revealed the bug to be present. The pool was closed immediately by Newport City Council when informed of a potential problem on 6 September.
Investigations are ongoing.
Dr Lika Nehaul, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said: “We know that seven of the 14 people who have become unwell since mid-August have visited the swimming pool at the Newport Centre.
“However, some had other possible exposure that could explain their infection and so we are keeping an open mind about any possible links between the cases.”
Cryptosporidiosis is a disease that can cause watery diarrhoea, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting and fever. It can affect people of any age but is most common in children between one and five years of age.
Sheila Davies, Newport City Council’s Corporate Director for Regeneration and the Environment, said: “Our customers’ wellbeing is always our utmost priority and as soon as it came to light that there were cases potentially linked to the pool, we took immediate action.
“The pool was closed instantly as a precaution and we carried out a thorough review of swimming pool operations and filtration systems along with all appropriate tests in discussion with Public Health Wales to determine if cryptosporidium was present in the water. Results have indicated there was a presence and we are investigating this further.
“The pool remains closed and will only reopen when we are 100 per cent satisfied that everything is in order and there is no risk to those using the facility.
“At present it is not known how long the pool will be closed and our top priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of our customers. The remainder of the facility and its programmes remain open to the public for their use.
“Newport City Council would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused. There are alternative swimming facilities available at both Newport International Sports Village and the Active Living Centre, Bettws.”
Crytposporodiosis is often associated with travel overseas and can be acquired from other people, from animals, and from drinking or swimming in contaminated water.
Although outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis do occur, it is not unusual for Public Health Wales to be notified of sporadic cases throughout the year – that is cases that cannot be linked to any others. There are up to 400 cases of cryptosporidium in Wales each year.
Dr Nehaul added: “It is always good practice for anyone with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting to wash their hands after using the toilet or before preparing food to avoid the spread of infection to others. Anyone with such symptoms should stay away from work or school until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.
“Anyone who is diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis should wait two weeks after their diarrhoea has stopped before using any swimming pool.”
More information on cryptosporidiosis is available from the Public Health Wales website at: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/44044
Source: Public Health Wales