FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  Connecticut Department of Public Health

May 16, 2008                                                 Contact:  William Gerrish

                                                                       (860) 509-7270



Department of Public Health Stresses Recreational Water Illness Prevention


HartfordThe Connecticut Department of Public Health want residents to be aware that the week preceding Memorial Day (May 19–25, 2008) has been designated as National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week.  The 2008 goal is to highlight the importance of healthy swimming behaviors in preventing recreational water illnesses (RWIs). 

DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. said “state and local health departments across the country investigated more RWI outbreaks in 2007 than ever before.  These investigations are being driven by an increase in the number of RWI outbreaks caused by Cryptosporidium (“Crypto”), a chlorine resistant parasite.  These outbreaks are primarily associated with treated recreational water venues, such as pools and water parks.”

“Even a well maintained pool can transmit Crypto, so the awareness of recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and healthy swimming behaviors play an important role in stopping transmission of RWIs,” Dr. Galvin said.  “Residents need to remember that germs on and in swimmers’ bodies end up in the water and can make other people sick.  Even healthy swimmers can get sick from RWIs, but the young, elderly, pregnant women and immunosuppressed persons are especially at risk.”

In order to reduce the threat of RWIs, there are specific actions one can take to promote healthy swimming.  These include:

·          Do not swim when you have diarrhea.        

·          Do not swallow pool water or get pool water in your mouth.

·          Shower before swimming (children too!).

·          Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.

·          Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often.

·          Change children’s diapers in a bathroom, not at poolside.

For more information about Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week and Healthy Swimming, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Healthy Swimming” website at

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at  or call (860) 509-7270.