Leptospirosis bacterium still haunts swimming holes | Science News

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50 Years Ago

Leptospirosis bacterium still haunts swimming holes

Excerpt from the May 14, 1966, issue of Science News

By
12:30pm, May 5, 2016
swimming hole in Oregon

SWIMMER, BEWARE  In the summer of 1966, Science News warned readers of the dangerous bacteria behind leptospirosis lurking in recreational water holes. It, and a deadly amoeba, are still risks today. 

Danger in ‘swimming hole’  — As warm weather approaches, the old swimming hole will again beckon boys and girls in farm areas. But disease germs lurk in waters exposed to cattle and other animals…. One “swimming hole disease” called leptospirosis is caused by water-borne Leptospira pomona…. Warm summer temperatures are ideal for maintaining leptospiral organisms in water, and heavy rains may transport the organisms downstream.  — Science News, May 14, 1966

UPDATE

An estimated 100 to 200 people get leptospirosis annually in the United States. The

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