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Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
Ron Tobler with the Utah County Health Department releases blue dye into the Springville Community Pool on Thursday.

SPRINGVILLE — To anyone suffering from diarrhea: Please don't go into the pool.

Using a blue dye bomb, officials with the Utah County Health Department demonstrated Thursday how bacteria spread through pools. The blue dye in the Springville Community Pool spread slowly and gathered in certain areas.

With the onset of the community pool season coming, officials want residents to be aware of how the spreading of diseases such as cryptosporidium works and how it can be avoided. Last year's multiple outbreaks of the disease spurred a huge effort this year to try to minimize the effect.

Crypto is spread when someone who has the disease contaminates water through fecal material released in a bowel movement, said Ron Tobler, Environmental Health Program manager for the Utah County Health Department. Someone with the disease who hasn't taken a shower and isn't completely washed off can also spread the disease to the pool.

"A single fecal release releases billions of spores," said Lance Madigan, UCHD spokesman. "It only takes about 10 to get sick."

He added if people don't shower and clean themselves properly, the fecal matter in the pool doesn't disappear, it spreads. The UCHD asks people not to go swimming in pools, lakes, rivers or streams if they have been sick within two weeks, he said. Even if people feel better, they could still have the disease.

Although people think the chlorine in the pool will kill the disease, it won't, unless there is hyper-chlorination for about 10 hours with everyone out of the pool.

Many pools throughout Utah are installing UV ray systems that basically burn the parasite as the water cycles through the system, killing it before the water is pumped back into the pool, Tobler said. However, even with the UV system, if there is a fecal accident in the pool the pool has to be closed, and the water needs to be cycled through three times to make sure everything has been killed, which takes 12 to 16 hours.

Springville decided that the UV system would be less expensive than hyper-chlorination when they consider how long the pool would have to be closed when an accident occurs, compared with the man-hours spent to control the chlorination and the cost of the chlorine, said Shaun Orton, Springville facilities manager.

Orton said they expect to have some cases of the disease.

"The Centers for Disease Control guaranteed us we would have an outbreak," he said.

Tobler said this year they're hoping to prevent an epidemic, hopefully by making people more aware of how to avoid the disease and how to act if they have it.


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