Shire of Broome urges precaution against stomach parasite

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Town Beach’s water playground was closed this week due to an increase in Cryptosporidiosis cases in recent weeks.
Camera IconTown Beach’s water playground was closed this week due to an increase in Cryptosporidiosis cases in recent weeks. Credit: The West Australian, Stephen Scourfield

The Shire of Broome has urged the community to take precautions against a stomach parasite, including super-chlorinating their swimming pools, following an increase in gastroenteritis cases.

The Shire was notified by the WA Department of Health after there was an increase in Cryptosporidium cases in recent weeks.

Cryptosporidiosis is characterised by watery diarrhoea and stomach cramps and less commonly nausea, vomiting, slight fever or weight loss.

Cases are reported most years, however nine cases had been reported in Broome in the past three weeks.

It is easily spread through person-to-person contact, particularly in families and among small children, handling animals and their excrement, eating uncooked foods, and water in swimming pools.

The Shire advises the best way to prevent infection is to wash hands thoroughly for 10 seconds with soap and running water after using the toilet, changing nappies, handling animals or before preparing food or drinks; avoid swallowing pool or spa water; and boil untreated water before drinking it when camping.

Shire of Broome Environmental Health coordinator Andrew Waters said the Department of Health, WA Country Health Service and the Shire were working together to provide information and advice about preventing the spread of Cryptosporidiosis to childcare centres, schools, commercial pool operators and remote communities.

“Both the BRAC swimming pool and Town Beach water playground maintain adequate disinfection and filtration systems to kill micro-organisms, but as an added precaution both the BRAC pool and Town Beach water playground were closed and super chlorinated earlier this week,” he said.

“It’s also recommended that private pool owners who suspect an infected person has been swimming should carry out a super chlorination, with information available from the Shire website.

“To keep swimming pools free from contamination, it’s vital that people do not swim in a pool or enter a spa until at least two weeks after they have completely recovered from a diarrhoeal illness.”

Anyone with concerns about Cryptosporidiosis should visit their doctor.

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