Improving the management of environmental health risks associated with swimming pools
Swimming pools are the most common setting for outbreaks of waterborne gastroenteritis and the enteric protozoan parasite, Cryptosporidium is the leading cause. Transmission occurs through the ingestion of spore-like oocysts that are passed in the faeces of an infected person or animal. Cryptosporidium present specific challenges for infection control because it is shed in large numbers by an infected person and it is resistant to normal levels of chlorination.
The overall aim of this project is to provide tools to improve the management of health risks in public aquatic facilities associated with Cryptosporidium, which is the leading cause of pool-associated outbreaks of gastroenteritis. Key barriers to effective risk management are a lack of understanding of the epidemiology of cryptosporidiosis, poor adherence and understanding of regulations governing staff and patron behaviour, and low levels of public knowledge and awareness such as how long they should exclude themselves from a public swimming pool after experiencing diarrhoea. The project has a unique multidisciplinary approach to a persistent environmental health issue that can’t be addressed using traditional approaches by blending molecular, epidemiological, biomedical and sociological methodologies to develop evidence-based solutions.