Crypto closes Cocks Moor pool

Members of PHE West Midlands Health Protection Team are liaising closely with Environment Health colleagues from Birmingham City Council, and Birmingham Community Leisure Trust who manage the leisure centre, in order to prevent the risk of further infection.

Dr Huda Mohamed, consultant with PHE West Midlands Health Protection Team, said: “Cryptosporidiosis (also known as ‘crypto’) is a disease usually caused by the parasites Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum. It is much less common than stomach bugs like norovirus and rotavirus and is most commonly seen in children aged between 1 and 5 years. People with weak immune systems are likely to be more seriously affected. The most common symptom is mild to severe watery diarrhoea.

“The parasites are resistant to chlorine and outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis can be linked to drinking or swimming in contaminated water. The bug would only be introduced into a swimming pool setting from an individual infected with the disease that has not been clear of symptoms for 2 to 3 weeks – which is why it is important that anyone diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis does not use a public pool for 3 weeks after symptoms have ceased. Like all diarrhoea and vomiting bugs, crypto is transmitted via the faecal-oral route, so people who are infected can then pass the bug onto others, especially if effective hand hygiene following use of the toilet is not practised.

“The Health Protection Team had been notified of a number of cases of crypto in the Birmingham area and discovered a common factor that several of those people had used the Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre pool. Tests were undertaken and confirmed the presence of Cryptosporidium on 23 May, which is when the pool was closed.

“Thorough cleaning of the pool and filters is now taking place, and the pool will not reopen until all partners are content that all traces of Cryptosporidium have been removed and there is no further risk to the health of people visiting the pool.”

Brian Taylor, Chairman of Birmingham Community Leisure Trust said: “We take the health of our customers extremely seriously and have taken prompt action to implement measures and perform specific maintenance to eradicate this chlorine resistant bug from the water, which has been brought into the pool and is not removed by our normal disinfectant regime.

“We are liaising closely with Public Health England and local Environmental Health Officers and the pool will only reopen once we are all satisfied that the water quality is safe for swimmers.

“We are working hard to complete the required work as quickly as possible and are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

“We maintain our facilities to the highest standards of safety and cleanliness; all areas are cleaned regularly throughout the day and we actively promote pool hygiene to ensure that all swimmers are aware of appropriate pool etiquette, such as showering before entry. The pool’s closure highlights the importance of swimmers observing these guidelines to minimise risk and protect themselves and others.

“We know that the pool area is in need of refurbishment and – as part of a £2m upgrade – are overhauling both the pool and dry side changing areas and creating a new ladies changing room to improve the facilities.” For more information contact PHE West Midlands press office on 0121 232 9223/4

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