Hoping to give aquatics operators faster data about
recreational water illness outbreaks and curb the
spread of those outbreaks the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention in Atlanta will launch an electronic
RWI reporting system this spring.
It?s part of a new National Outbreak Reporting
System, which includes food, water and person-to-person
outbreaks. It will enable state agencies to report
outbreaks to the CDC electronically instead of via the
current method of paper forms, which can take nine months
?[The electronic system will allow] better
outbreak investigations and data collection, which can lead
to a better understanding of how and why outbreaks occur,
and improved guidelines and recommendations for preventing
future outbreaks,? said Michael J. Beach,
epidemiologist and acting director for Healthy Water at the
National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne and Enteric
Diseases at the CDC.
The new online system was first discussed as a
recommendation at the 2005 RWI Prevention workshop,
according to Beach. The initiative is a collaboration
between the CDC, the Environmental Protection Agency, and
the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists. The
CDC and EPA funded the program.
As of press time, final programming was being completed,
help desk information for states was being developed and
beta testing was set to begin in the spring. Full
deployment can be expected by the third or fourth quarter
of 2008, Beach said. ?This will mean that the
2009-10 outbreak summary data will have been collected
entirely through the new system.?
The announcement comes on the heels of the 2007 swim
season, which saw a 24 percent spike in
cryptosporidium outbreaks, including one in the
Salt Lake City area that led to children under age 5 being
banned from pools.