Outbreak report Open Access
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A need for national guidelines relating to interactive water features was highlighted following three outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis in the United Kingdom, all of which were related to public water features. In August 2003 the Health Protection Agency South West of England was notified of an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis associated with an interactive water feature designed for water play within an adventure park. The water feature was implicated following samples with a high coliform count and the presence of faecal coliforms. A case was defined as any child (younger than 16 years of age) who had visited the park during August and who subsequently had gastrointestinal symptoms and a faecal sample positive for cryptosporidium. Seventy one children were identified in the cohort. This outbreak of cryptosporidiosis was characterised by a very high attack rate (89%), relatively severe in duration (median 8 days) and had a relatively high hospital admission (16% of cases). The epidemic curve was consistent with a point source of infection, which corresponded to the date 80% of the cohort visited the park. This outbreak has similarities to two other cryptosporidiosis outbreaks reported in England in 2003 that involved public water features. These outbreaks raise issues about the operation and maintenance of water-based recreational attractions that very often involve children. The paper reflects on the basic control measures that can be taken and highlights the need for guidelines, especially since such attractions are becoming increasingly common. The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group in United Kingdom has now produced guidelines.


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