Acute recreational water illnesses prevention also remains an important area of research. In September 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 72 percent increase in outbreaks 2005-2006 versus the prior two-year period. This is a record number of outbreaks since the CDC began monitoring recreational water illness. Nearly half the outbreaks were caused by the parasite, Cryptosporidium (Crypto). Reversing this trend will require improvements in swimming pool disinfection and operation, pool regulations and enforcement, and swimmer hygiene. In recent years, James Amburgey, Ph.D., University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC) through NSPF grants, has made significant advances in understanding pool water filtration and its impact on Crypto removal. Dr. Amburgey has been awarded a grant of $24,984 to create a bather load model and assess the impact of bather load on Cryptosporidium-sized microspheres.

In addition to research the NSPF has funded directly to Dr. Amburgey’s team, the foundation also manages and administers an industrial research grant studying filtration and removal of Crypto. Industrial research grants enable multiple organizations to partner to fund key projects. This specific industrial research grant may exceed $200,000, raised through industry donations. Dr. Amburgey has directed $25,000 of the grant to the CDC to assist in performing research. The goal of the research is to develop better product label instructions, standard operating procedures, and remediation strategies to reduce the risk of waterborne disease outbreaks. Manufacturers of water clarifiers, filter aids, and advanced filter designs wishing to join the fight against Crypto outbreaks in pools should contact Dr. Amburgey directly at to explore whether testing their products would be beneficial.

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