Abstract

A study was conducted of the occurrence of Cryptosporidium in indoor heated public swimming pools and of three bacterial indicators (Escherichia coli, faecal enterococci and Clostridium perfringens) on pool surrounds. Although all examined pools adhered strictly to the Spanish regulations, the influence of several parameters related to water conditions, pool structure, users and location on the presence of protozoa and bacteria was analysed. Cryptosporidium was detected in 18.8% of pools in 60% of the five towns studied. The maximum concentration was 13 oocysts/L in one swimming pool and one Jacuzzi. The bacterial indicators' prevalence on pool surrounds was higher than 50%, being present in all of the towns. Plastic surfaces presented the lowest bacterial prevalence, whereas painted surfaces were 100% positive. No differences were observed for pool surrounds with autonomous or disabled users. Risk of cryptosporidiosis in pool vessels indicated that concentrations over 1 oocyst/10 L enhance the risk of infection, even in one exposure. Guidelines for managing faecal accidents and public information on the importance of good hygiene behaviours in and around swimming pools are recommended to limit oocysts' presence.

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