With pool season officially upon us, the Centers for Disease and Control is warning parents about an increase in infections linked to contaminated pool water.
Nine Mesa pools opened for the summer on Saturday. While a refreshing swim sounds tempting, the CDC discovered an illness related to pool water recently doubled — and Arizona is among the worst offenders.
Cryptosporidium, also known as Crypto, is a parasite that can cause serious illness if a person swallows pool water that has been contaminated by feces. Unfortunately, once the parasite infects the water, it’s extremely difficult to treat — even with chlorine.
In 2015, there were 62 reported cases in the Grand Canyon state; that more than doubled the following year with 350 cases.
The CDC is offering tips to avoid the sickness:
- Don’t swim and don’t let children swim when sick with diarrhea.
- Don’t swallow the water.
- Shower before you get in the water.
- Take kids on frequent bathroom breaks.
- Check diapers and change them in a bathroom or diaper-changing area away from the pool.
In Arizona especially, avoiding the pool all summer would be impractical.
Mark Foote, a recreation supervisor for the city of Mesa, says they’re taking precautionary steps to ensure that the pool is Crypto-free.
"We encourage everybody to make sure they shower before they get in the pool," Foote said. "That's probably the most critical thing."
Fortunately, no Mesa pools were apart of last year's Crypto outbreak.
"We have micron filtration in our pools; we have UV on a handful of our pools," Foote explained.
Aside from protecting swimmers from the parasite infection, the city of Mesa is also making sure people are safe in the water.
There are life jackets available at all of the locations along with 300 trained lifeguards.
"They're really here for emergency and backup," Foote said. "We ask parents to bet he first line of defense watching their kids around water still."
Admission is $2 for kids under 17 years old and $4 for adults. The FlowRider, a surfing simulator, costs $5.50 for kids and $11 for adults for a one-hour ride.
Brimhall Aquatic Complex
4949 E. Southern Ave.
Carson Aquatic Complex
525 N. Westwood
Fremont Aquatic Complex
1101 N. Power Rd.
Kino Aquatic Center
848 N. Horne
Mesa Aquatic Complex
1630 E. Southern Ave.
Rhodes Aquatic Complex (FlowRider)
1860 S. Longmore
Shepherd Aquatic Complex
1407 N. Alta Mesa Dr.
Skyline Aquatic Center
845 S. Crismon Rd.
Stapley Aquatic Complex
3250 E. Hermosa Vista