Tuesday, 26 October 2010
The water's not so lovely after all
I was put off swimming pools at the age of 11 by a large and intimidating teacher who insisted we all jump in......with disastrous results. I think I must have swallowed a gallon of chlorinated water and I regret now that as a result of this trauma I never learnt to swim. But at today's workshop on cryptosporidium organised by Relu's Assessment of Knowledge Disease Sources in Animal Disease Control, I was quite relieved that I never feel the least bit tempted to dive in. Apparently faecal contamination from human bodies is a major problem in the recycled water and can infect swimmers with this nasty bug. The chlorene may taste nasty but it is no match for cryptosporosis. As always at such project events I learnt a lot, but they weren't really putting on the event for my benefit. It was an important part of the research process. As researcher Louise Heathwaite explained to the experts gathered from government and industry, 'We want what's in your heads'. The project is looking at how expertise and experience translates into policy - and why we don't get it right all the time. It's fascinating stuff but I'm afraid it has confirmed all my prejudices about swimming pools.