Media coverage of Norovirus at Splashes Medway pool

From The Daily Telegraph – 06-05-17


Hallowe’en horror at norovirus pool party

A SWIMMING pool that dyed its water blood red for Hallowe’en has apologised after dozens of swimmers contracted norovirus.

            Scores of people fell ill with the vomiting bug after the themed party at Splashes pool in Rainham, health officials found. Medway council said it has lowered the amount of chlorite in the water for the dye to work, but had kept the level within guidelines.

            In a report, Public Health England said the bug was probably linked to the lower chlorine levels, adding that chlorine checks on the day of the party had failed.

            Between 68 to 93 people are thought to have been struck by the bug. Investigators said it was impossible to work out exactly how the norovirus spread, but found the outbreak ended “abruptly” after the chlorine levels returned to normal on Oct 28.

            Medway Council apologised to those who had felt unwell after the party, and said it would no longer be using dye in its swimming pools.





From Kent On Sunday – 07-05-17


Council slammed over pool’s norovirus outbreak findings

By Chris Britcher


AN outbreak of vomiting bug norovirus, caused by a dye to change the colour of the water to blood red for a Halloween event, has been slammed by council opponents.

            A report by Public Health England (PHE) into the incident at Rainham’s Splashes leisure complex, was published on Friday.

            The outbreak made 120 people ill.

            The investigation confirmed chlorine levels in the pool at the start of the day last October were at a level which means norovirus should not have been able to spread in the water. However further checks were not formal recorded by staff after 2pm, and it was not clear whether chlorine levels were maintained above recommended levels for this period. PHE said this went against the council’s own standard procedures. During special themed pool parties dye is added to the water and the chlorine level is knowingly lowered, but remains within national pool water advisory guidelines, to allow for the dye to take effect.

            PHE concluded that “prompt and robust actions undertaken by leisure management and Medway Council’s environmental health team in response to the reported outbreak mitigated further risks to pool users”.

Medway Council’s portfolio holder for community Howard Doe said: “I would like to say again on behalf of the council that we are sorry to those who felt unwell after enjoying the pool party. This was a rare and isolated incident for Medway”.


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