Every year, hundreds of people end up sick with a parasite called Cryptosporidiosis which causes an intestinal infection that can lead to diarrhea lasting up to three weeks.
Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the States released new information in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report about the increase in cases of Cryptosporidiosis over the last eight years.
What's most troubling about this parasite is its ability to survive chlorinated pools... and the fact that 35% of human contamination happens in pools.
Swallowing water from pools and water playgrounds was the #1 leading cause of contamination and outbreaks amongst humans between 2009 and 2017, according to the CDC.
The implication is cryptosporidiosis, a "profuse, watery, diarrhea that can last up to 3 weeks," and can even lead to life-threatening complications for people who are considered immunocompromised, either due to their age or other illness.
The CDC also notes that, despite modern medicine, the spread of this parasite has increased by 13% every year between 2009 and 2017.
READ ALSO: Sewage Leak Forces Closure At Oka Beach
Here in Canada, we dealt with a serious outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis in 2001, when there were 1,763 reported cases, after the city's drinking water was contaminated in North Battleford Saskatchewan.
The townspeople have since sued and settled with the province and town of North Battleford, winning $3.2 million between them for pain and suffering, lost income and other expenses related to the contamination and subsequent illness.
In addition to being impervious to chlorine, the parasite is also not affected by alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Ingestion is the most common way that people contract the parasite, and again, that ingestion is usually due to swallowing water from public pools or "splash pads."
Essentially, if you've got the runs, don't go swimming. And if you do go swimming... don't open your mouth.
And unfortunately for us here in Montreal, Oka Beach has also been closed due to a sewage leak... so you're going to have to keep looking when it comes to swimming spots.