Bacteria Found in Recreational Water

With high temperatures on the horizon, it’s tempting to want to go for a swim in order to beat the heat. It’s a great way to get exercise and keep the kids entertained. But if you enjoy making trips to the beach or nearby lakes and rivers, there is a possibility of facing potential health risks. Recently, 90 people became ill after swimming in a Rhode Island lake, which tested positive for shigella.

Dangerous Bacteria Found in Recreational Water

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) names the following bacteria as some of the top causes for recreational water outbreaks.

  • Shigella – This type of bacteria is typically passed from person to person and originates from infected stool. Shigella can cause the shigellosis disease, which causes stomach cramps, fever and diarrhea. People sickened by shigellosis usually recover on their own, although antibiotics may be used for severe cases.
  • Leptospira – This bacteria can be transmitted to people through contact with the urine of infected animals. Leptospirosis can live in the soil or water for several months. Signs of the bacterial disease include: diarrhea, muscle aches, chills, red eyes, jaundice, fever, rash and vomiting. Treatment typically involves antibiotics.
  • Escherichia Coli – Often known by E. coli, this bacteria has several strains that can be harmful to humans. E. coli that cause disease are often known as ETEC. This is usually found in water infected with stool. Symptoms of e. coli can include diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, nausea, aches and chills. Antibiotics are usually not necessary, unless it is a very severe case. It is recommended that infected individuals get a lot of rest and drink plenty of fluids to keep from becoming dehydrated.

Steps To Avoid These Water-Borne Illnesses

The CDC recommends that you check out local beach information provided by the EPA. You can find out about bacteria levels and learn if the water is safe for swimming. If you do become sick shortly after swimming in a lake, ocean or river, be sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible.

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