Public health violations were reported in more than 10% of public pool inspections in the United States in 2008, as reported by Pediatric Supersite today. Taken from published findings in the , data from 1997 to 2006 indicated that gastroenteritis was the most frequently reported type of recreational water illness.
Chlorine- and bromine-susceptible pathogens such as Shigella and norovirus caused 23% of 104 infections reported during that period. As a result, health officials instituted measures to increase pool inspection procedures.
The current study involved data from 121,020 routine pool inspections conducted in 13 states. Reported denominators varied because pool codes and inspection items differed across jurisdictions.
Among 111,487 pool inspections, 13,532 (12.1%) resulted in immediate closure due to serious public health violations, including a lack of disinfectant in the water. Disinfectant level violations were reported in 12,917 of 120,975 (10.7%) inspections.
The number of code violations among the 121,020 inspections reporting specific code data ranged from 0 to 28. At least one code violation was reported in 61.1% of inspections, according to the researchers.
Violations of pH levels were reported in 8.9% of 113,597 inspections. Improper disinfectant and pH levels can result in the transmission of gastroenteritis-associated pathogens, according to CDC officials.
Other violations included circulation and filtration violations and use of unapproved water test kits.
Childcare facility pools had the highest rates of immediate closures, followed by hotel/motel pools and apartment/condominium pools. The most frequent disinfectant violations were observed in kiddie/wading pools and interactive fountains.
Health officials encouraged swimmers to be aware of pool regulations, to practice good hygiene and to ensure that children are properly cleaned before swimming.