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CDC Study Finds 58% Of Public Pools Tested Positive For E.Coli

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Many parents probably remember that popular primer on bodily functions called "Everybody Poops."

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning that human feces are found in more than half of public swimming pools, confirming that E.coli is in 58 percent of samples tested from pool filters.

"People, when they swim, obviously their whole body goes in the water, so anything that is on their bodies is likely to end up in the water," says Dr. Ronald Voorhees, the acting director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

Chlorine, the primary pool disinfectant, should handle most microbes.

But some E.coli, which can cause serious gastrointestinal illness, can be stubborn if chlorine levels are not adequate.

"So anybody that's had diarrhea recently, until they are over it, they should not use a pool," Dr. Voorhees said.

The CDC tested water from pools in Atlanta and results should be comparable to other areas.

In Allegheny County, pools are supposedly checked regularly.

"Our staff occasionally inspects, but it's really up to the pool operators to be checking on a schedule," said Dr. Voorhees. "But we also know that chlorine has to be there for a while. It doesn't instantly kill bacteria."

The CDC report showed:

  • E. coli was in 70 percent of municipal pools.
  • It was found in 49 percent of club or other membership pools.
  • And 73 percent of kiddie pools tested positive for the bacteria.

"People should shower well before they go in the pool," Dr. Voorhees added. "There are signs up, but a lot of people don't heed them. They should."

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