Hoping to prevent a repeat of the record cryptosporidium outbreaks of last summer, Utah health officials are proposing tough new rules. Among them is a provision that forbids anyone from swimming who has had diarrhea in the previous two weeks and requiring swim diapers for toddlers.
The swim diaper proposal would make tight-fitting swim diapers mandatory for all swimmers under age 3. In an effort to curb last summer?s outbreak, toddlers were banned shortly after Labor Day, and some experts supported banning toddlers again this summer. Others argued that the cost to facilities would make a blanket ban impractical.
?Utah is notorious for large families,? said Martin Jensen, spokesperson for Salt Lake County public pools. ?Any time you have a family coming to the pool, you?re going to have toddlers.?
In addition to the regulations, which were developed by a team that includes health officials and aquatics professionals, experts agree that public education is key in preventing another outbreak.
The Utah Department of Health has developed informational materials and PSAs, and health officials are stepping up campaigns state wide.
Besides state requirements, some local agencies are adopting their own policies.
Salt Lake County, which recorded 684 crypto cases during the 2007 outbreak period, is installing UV filtration systems in each of its 18 public pools.
?It?s not a magic bullet, but these systems are one component that we hope will make our pools safer,? Jensen said.
Lewis Garrett, director of health at the Davis County Health Department, and one of the officials who provided input to the proposed state guidelines, plans to ?adopt the pool rules as revised? without any additional restrictions. ?Ideally, UV disinfection [at every pool in Utah] would be the gold standard and we?ll move toward that. [Given the available resources], I?d say the [proposal on the table] is the most ?doable,?? Garrett added.
Following standard procedure, the new regulations have been submitted for a 30-day public comment period before taking effect.