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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Outbreak of Ocular and Respiratory Illness After Exposure to a Poorly Managed Indoor Motel Swimming Pool — Nebraska, 2006

PRESS CONTACT: Marla Augustine
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Communications and Legislative Services
(402) 471-4047

Chlorinated public swimming pools can be a source of chemical exposure and pose a health risk if water chemistry and quality are not adequately maintained. In December 2006, a Nebraska child was hospitalized in an intensive care unit for breathing problems after exposure to an indoor motel swimming pool. Twenty-three additional persons, four of whom sought medical care, also reported eye and respiratory illness after exposure to the same motel swimming pool. The outbreak likely was the result of exposure to toxic levels of chloramines that had accumulated in the air of the enclosed space around the pool. Chloramines form when chlorine, a common disinfectant used in swimming pools, reacts with sweat, urine, and other human waste that accumulates in the water. They can remain in the water or evaporate into the air above the pool, causing a pungent smell. Chloramines are not considered health hazards in outdoor swimming pools. However, in the enclosed space around indoor pools that are not adequately maintained, they can reach dangerous concentrations and cause the sudden onset of eye and respiratory tract irritation in swimmers and other persons in the indoor pool environment. The Nebraska child had a severe case of chloramine toxicity which is not common; most people exposed to chloramines experience less severe symptoms. This outbreak underscores that properly trained pool operators play a critical role in assuring swimmer safety. The operator of this state-licensed swimming pool was not required to be certified and had no verifiable training. Public pool operators should be trained to maintain water chemistry within acceptable ranges and ensure adequate ventilation in indoor pool environments to prevent accumulation of unsafe levels of chloramines and minimize the associated health risks. Additionally, swimmers should report unusually strong chlorine odor and any instance of pool-associated respiratory or ocular irritation to the pool operator and refrain from entering or being exposed to the air around the implicated pool.

Colorectal Cancer Test Use — Maryland, 2002–2006

PRESS CONTACT: Karen Black, Director
Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH)
Office of Public Relations
(410) 767-6490

Although overall increases in colorectal cancer (CRC) testing reflect substantial progress in Maryland, additional measures are needed to eliminate racial disparities in CRC testing and to increase testing among the medically underserved. Maryland residents have made significant strides in colorectal cancer (CRC) testing since 2002. Results from the Maryland Cancer Surveys performed in 2002, 2004, and 2006 show that the percentage of Maryland residents age 50 years and older who reported never having a test for colorectal cancer (CRC) (either fecal occult blood test, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy) has decreased by 6.1%, from 25.9% in 2002 to 19.8% in 2006. The percentage of Maryland residents never having a CRC test was significantly higher among residents who were neither white nor black (i.e., persons of other races), those without health insurance, or persons who have not had a recent medical checkup (within the past 2 years). The percentage of residents age 50 years and older who were up-to-date with colonoscopy testing (within the past 10 years) increased by 17.5%, from a reported prevalence of 41.2% in 2002 to 58.7% in 2006.

West Nile Virus Update

PRESS CONTACT: CDC Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

No summary available

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

  • Historical Document: September 13, 2007
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