Some infectious bacteria resistant to chlorine, CDC warns

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A new report by the CDC warns that some infectious bacteria are resistant to chlorine. (WLS)

The upcoming Memorial Day holiday is the kickoff for the summer season. Whether you have a pool in your yard or your neighborhood or if you plan to take a dip in a hotel pool, a word of caution. A new report by the CDC warns that some infectious bacteria are resistant to chlorine.

Employees with The Park District of Oak Park spent the day powerwashing and vacuuming as the suburb gets its two public pools ready for the summer season. Maintaining a safe and clean pool by using the right amount of chemicals is a priority.

"We always have a certified pool operator at the facility, so if your chlorine/pH levels go down, we have someone who can test and add the right chemicals for a balance gain," said Kayla Fauria, pool manager for The Park District of Oak Park.

However, according the CDC report released Thursday, chlorine doesn't always do the trick.

"Chlorine added to a swimming pool does a pretty good job killing most bacteria, but there are some parasites to survive chlorine," said Dr.Sam Dorevitch with UIC's School of Public Health. He says outbreaks from pools can cause diarrhea, stomach aches, cramps and vomiting.

The CDC study says most outbreaks occur at hotel pools. Dr. Dorewitch said the key is preventing outbreaks which he says most park districts, including Oak Park, and big water parks do because they strictly follow CDC guidelines.

"Pools that use something called the model aquatic health code that CDC developed go beyond Chlorination," said Dr. Dorevitch.

Oak Park Pools also make sure signs are visible outside near the kiddie pool and in the locker room warning patrons about babies not wearing appropriate diapers. Lifeguards are expected to keep a close eye on anything in the pool that may cause an outbreak.

"I think people are educated and know if they are having bathroom problems not to come to the pool," said Fauria.

While most park districts and major water parks adhere to CDC guidelines, Dr. Dorevitch said if you are unsure, ask the pools aquatics director about the protocol to keep the pool clean and safe.
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