"Sanitation and the Environment" is a brilliant example of a paper on poisoning, toxicology, and environmental health. RECREATIONAL WATER ILLNESSES Recreational water illnesses are diseases that result from swallowing or having body contact with contaminated swimming pools or ocean water. Water contamination is mostly associated with fecal coliform or Enterococcus bacteria that are found in warmblood animals’ intestines like seagulls, wildlife, and human beings. These bacteria can find their way into the water in various ways, for example, direct deposit, sewer leakage, stormwater runoff, or improper disposal of diapers and boat waste (Armitage, 1999). On this note, the public health department routinely screens the beach water for these germs and gives recommendations or closes the beach temporally.
As a health inspector am required to sample beach water after a storm and advice the public accordingly as well as determine whether to close the beach or not. Direct contact or swallowing contaminated water accidentally, may result in stomach-aches, fever, headache, sore throat, skin infection, wound infection, eye, ear and respiratory infections or diarrhea (“ Minnesota beaches, ” 2012). Most of these water-borne illnesses are caused by pathogens found in feces of animals and human beings; it is costly and impossible to directly test for pathogens because they generally exist at low levels.
Therefore, a public health inspector looks for indicator species like fecal coliform or Enterococcus bacteria whose presence indicates fecal contamination. The inspection process involves clean water sampling of at least five samples in 30 days, laboratory analyses, and data entry, information discloser, and the inspector's recommendations. CHALLENGES IN MONITORING AND MANAGING BEACH WATER Armitage (1999) says that, despite the health department’ s effort to protect the public from exposure to contaminated water, there are several challenges it faces. The first one is lateness in communicating the analysis results. This is contributed by the current microbial testing methods used in the pathogen analysis, where the pathogens require an incubation period of about 24hours or more to be detected. In the meantime, swimmers and the entire public is under threat of a potential pathogen. The second one is that microbial tests are only fecal contamination based, although not all the pathogens that would cause illness to originate from feces, making the methods less accurate. This means that although the water may be found to be free from fecal bacteria, it still has the potential to cause harm to the public. TYPE OF WARNING INFORMATION To mitigate this it is the responsibility of the health inspector under the public health policies of general practice, to warn the public through communicating different warning information. The first safety warning would be to alert the public in checking the advisory green monitored sign, that shows when the beach was monitored and the bacteria levels found before swimming.
The second would be to advocate the importance of avoiding swimming after a storm for approximately 24 hours. The third warning would be to ensure showering immediately after swimming on the beach. The fourth would be trying to avoid swallowing water by ensuring your head is always out of the water while swimming. Finally, avoid swimming if you have a skin condition or you have a weak immune system (“ Minnesota beaches, ” 2012) In conclusion, the validity and accuracy of current microbial tests are not effective. This is because it only tests for one or a maximum of two pathogens.
Also, this method of analysis is not timely in the delivery of results. Therefore, the public health department should improve the test method into a more efficient method such as dipstick color change which detects fecal contamination immediately. The health public department would also consider using the media and internet in passing information about beach water contamination analysis to the public.
Armitage, T, M,(1999). EPA Action Plan for Beaches and Recreational Waters. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/ORD/htm/documents/600r98079.pdf
n.a. (2012).Minnesota beaches. Retrieved from http://www.mnbeaches.org/general/faq.html
n.a. (2007). Recreational Water Illness Information. Retrived from http://cchd.cortland-co.org/pdfs/evh/programs/operators/pools/illnesses.pdf