California residents that enjoy swimming in pools may be interested in learning that outbreaks of Cryptosporidium, a parasitic infection, have been on the rise since 2014. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were twice as many outbreaks reported in 2016 as there were in 2014.
The parasite, commonly referred to as Crypto, spreads when a person ingests something that has been in contact with the feces of a sick person. Contaminated pool water spreads Crypto because the parasite isn't easily eliminated by chlorine and can live up to 10 days in water that has been properly treated. All a person needs to do to become infected with the parasite is swallow a mouthful of contaminated pool water. He or she then may become sick for up to three weeks and experience nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps, which can easily lead to dehydration.
To prevent the spread of Crypto, the CDC recommends that the owners of the pool close it down when a diarrheal incident occurs. The pool water can then be treated with higher levels of chlorine to kill any potential parasite. Parents should also avoid letting their children swim in public pools while they are sick. Further, those who enjoy swimming should avoid swallowing the water.
Property owners with pools are responsible for ensuring that they are safe and clean for others to use. If a pool is not properly cleaned and causes people to get sick, those who suffer from infections or other diseases could potentially hold the owner of the swimming pool responsible for damages they sustained. However, they have a high burden of proof, meaning they will have to prove that their afflictions were caused by unsafe property conditions. An attorney may represent a person who sustained damages.