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UPDATE ON CRYPTOSPORIDIUM OUTBREAK SOUTHSIDE OF GLASGOW

September 24, 2003 12:30 PM

 

STATEMENT FROM THE OUTBREAK CONTROL TEAM ON THE OUTBREAK OF CRYPTOSPORIDIOSIS LINKED TO EASTWOOD POOL

A FURTHER four confirmed cases of Cryptosporidiosis have been found to have links to Eastwood Pool – bringing the total of confirmed cases of Cryptosporidiosis linked to the Pool to 18.

All of these cases are people who were exposed to Cryptosporidium during August and the first week of September this year.

The Outbreak Control Team is currently investigating an additional 18 cases of illness from people who have been linked to Eastwood Pool and are suspected, but not confirmed, of having Cryptosporidiosis.

Dr Helene Irvine, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and chairperson of the Outbreak Control Team (OCT), explained that the numbers are expanding as a result of the OCT actively seeking new cases via GPs and not as a result of ongoing exposure.

She said: "As the pool was closed voluntarily by East Renfewshire Council as soon as the outbreak was identified on September 9, 2003, there is no ongoing risk.

"Nevertheless, the evidence suggests there could be between ten and 20 cases in the community for every case we have been notified of, suggesting the outbreak could be sizeable.

"Cryptosporidiosis is not a trivial infection. It can cause watery diarrhoea for between ten and 14 days on average and, in some cases, symptoms such as joint pains which can persist beyond that period of time."

The OCT was presented with information by Officers from East Renfrewshire Council following their own internal investigation which suggested that several aspects of the pool water treatment plant operations were unsatisfactory, such as the quality of the sand in the filters.

Following extensive testing, high levels of Cryptosporidium oocysts – which causes the illness Cryptosporidiosis – were found in the filters of the large and small pools as well as in the water of the small pool itself.

The OCT has concluded that because of the high numbers of Crytosporidiosis cases that are linked to Eastwood Pool, the most likely cause of the outbreak was the inadvertent swallowing of contaminated water whilst swimming in Eastwood Pool.

The route by which Cryptosporidium initially entered the pool water will probably remain undiscovered.  However, evidence suggests that a build up of Cryptosporidium oocysts in the pool water resulted from ineffective filtration.

East Renfrewshire Council officials have given the OCT their assurances that a complete overhaul of the filtration system and other aspects of the pool environment will be undertaken and that the pool will not reopen until this work is complete.

The OCT will be making a series of recommendations including those aimed at encouraging East Renfrewshire Council to adopt best practice in pool management and filtration maintenance at Eastwood Pool.

ENDS

 

Media Information:

NHS Greater Glasgow Press Office - 0141 201 4429 (24 hours)

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