As more and more individuals begin feeling comfortable with traveling, many considerations must be made in regards to health safety. Any work-oriented trip or vacation can lead to locations around the world that may not access to clean drinking water. One wrong move could result in whichever hotel your family ends up at exposing your family and other guests to contaminated water. This water is capable of transferring illnesses to guests and leaving them infected with a potentially fatal bacteria. This post will detail some of the ways in which families can encounter these different bacteria, in addition to ways to avoid them amongst time spent away from home.
Two of the most dangerous diseases will be broken down within this post: Legionnaires’ Disease and Cryptosporidiosis. These diseases are a result of two of the most common travel-based bacteria that families encounter.
For those unaware, the Legionnaires’ disease was first discovered as a result of a massive breakout in the late 1970’s at an American Legion Convention. Guests were infected by the Legionella bacteria, about 182 of them, with 29 of them going on to die as a result of it. The bacteria responsible for killing these guests was transmitted as a result of untreated water that was flowing through the air due to mistreated HVAC systems. Without proper care, these systems serve as a catalyst for the spread of the bacteria. Many hotels were put on notice after this incident, prioritizing regular checkins on their HVAC systems. This isn’t to say every hotel is as prepared for these attacks, many hotels may not have the proper systems in place to fend off against this bacteria. For families that come into contact with these hotels, the best course of action is evacuating and finding a different hotel to stay in.
Dodging Legionnaires is a great start, but travelers will also have to be prepared for the disease known as Crypto. The disease is a result of becoming infected with the cryptosporidium parasite, again, a very common parasite found in untreated water. When your family travels, be mindful of any of these symptoms as a sign of infection: severe diarrhea, nausea or vomiting. These all correlate to a number of things, but untreated water often gets overlooked. It’s more than likely a result of cryptosporidium. Families that have spent time in recreational water sources, such as hotel pools, hot tubs or saunas, are more likely to contract this parasite.
While it may seem obvious, ask any hotel representative about their water contamination history prior to entering any recreational water source provided by the hotel. Similarly, prior to showering, be sure the water is safe to use. Unfortunately, travelers are bound to find additional water contaminants within their travels. This is why it’s so importance to do ample research prior to traveling to any country with known water filtration issues. For more information on these countries, in addition to the water contaminants that can be present in your families’ hotel, be sure to check out the infographic coupled alongside this post.
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.