Whether your family is planning a summer vacation, or your business-related travel has begun to pick up again, it’s important to remain wary of any contaminated water throughout your travels. You may think that local water supplies in the areas that you’re traveling to are your largest concern, but even the hotels you stay in could put you at risk at contracting a water-borne illness. Something as simple as a dip in the hotel’s pools or hot tubs could be your downfall, but even more simple than that, a breath of fresh air could be your undoing.
The resource accompanying this post is meant to educate travelers regarding these water-borne illnesses and the risks associated with them. The information within the resource is incredibly important for any traveler with underlying health issues or young children in particular. Two of the most dire water-borne illness are detailed in length, in addition to some of the most common ways people become infected by them.
The two most threatening water-borne illnesses to be weary of on your travels are Legionnaires’ Disease and Cryptosporidiosis.
You may be aware of Legionnaires’ disease in part due to its first reported breakout in 1976. Let’s set the scene. The Bellevue-Stratford hotel in Philadelphia hosted the American Legion convention in the summer of 1976. Approximately 182 guests were infected, of which 29 had died just weeks after their stay within the hotel. These 182 were infected by the Legionella bacteria as a result of the hotel’s air condition system and was further transmitted through the air. This outbreak prompted new procedures and regulations for HVAC systems in hotels. As a frequent traveler, this will leave you placing all hope in property management staff of any hotel you visit. Without proper maintenance you could be left exposed similarly to those in 1976. If you fear a hotel’s water has been exposed, avoid hot showers, community pools and hot tubs, or any situation that involves water being circulated into the air.
As well-known as Legionnaires’ disease is, the secondary disease that this post is focused on is much less known. Crypto is a result of the Cryptosporidium parasite. Those infected have reported severe diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Very pleasant feelings to have throughout your travels and hotel stays. However, believe it or not, similarly to Legionnaires’, hotels are almost exclusively responsible for the spread of this parasite. The shared-water sources such as pools, hot tubs and saunas are the biggest culprits of spreading this parasite to guests. Avoiding exposure is of utmost importance, but if you happen to be exposed it’s equally important to avoid spreading it. The resource details how to deal with both scenarios.
Unfortunately there are an abundance of additional microscopic contaminants that can cause illness to you and your family amongst your travels. Even experienced travelers could fall victim to these different bacteria. Remember to consider the quality of drinking water in any area that you visit as it will likely be a good indication for the risk of waterborne illnesses within your hotel stay. If you feel remotely unsure of the quality of water, always default to bottled water as well.
Content help: Chris Ebener is a mechanical engineer for LiquiTech, with a proven track record of diagnosing and remediating public water system issues of various sizes and complexity. Ebener is an expert on the biochemical makeup of facility water systems, system architecture and various methodologies of public drinking water treatment.