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Outbreak of diarrhoea among participants of a triathlon and a duathlon on 12 July 2015 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.On 12 July 2015, a triathlon competition with 900 participants took place in Utrecht, the Netherlands. An outbreak investigation was initiated after 56 participants reported health complaints. An online questionnaire was sent to 700 participants. Stool specimens from six participants and four water specimens were collected from the swimming location. A total of 239 participants completed the questionnaire (response rate: 34%), 73 (31%) of them met the case definition for acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI). A total of 67% of the respondents were male and the median age was 38 years. Almost half (42%) of swimmers reported health complaints. Consumption of energy drinks and ingesting ⩾3 mouthfuls of canal water were identified as risk factors for AGI among swimmers only (adjusted relative risks (aRR) 1·6; 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1·0-2·5 and aRR 2·6; 95% CI 1·5-4·8). The collected water specimens tested positive for norovirus genogroup I and rotavirus and stool specimens tested positive for norovirus genogroup II. Our findings indicate that the outbreak could have been caused by exposure to norovirus during swimming. Swimmers should get information about the health risks for making an informed choice about participating. For future events, the organisers decided to change the swimming location from a canal to a recreational lake.
Risk factors for gastroenteritis associated with canal swimming in two cities in the Netherlands during the summer of 2015: A prospective study.Urban canal swimming events are popular in the Netherlands. In 2015, two city canal swimming events took place, in Utrecht (Utrecht Singel Swim, USS) and in Amsterdam (Amsterdam City Swim, ACS). This prospective study characterizes the health risks associated with swimming in urban waters. Online questionnaires were sent to 160 (USS) and 2,692 (ACS) participants, with relatives of participants who did not swim completing the questionnaire as a control. Swimming water specimens and stool specimens of diarrheic participants in the ACS group were analysed. A total of 49% of USS and 51% of ACS swimmers returned their questionnaires. Nine percent of USS swimmers and 4% of non-swimmers reported gastrointestinal complaints (aRR 2.1; 95% CI: 0.3-16), while a total of 31% of ACS swimmers and 5% of non-swimmers reported gastrointestinal complaints (aRR 6.3; 95% CI: 4.1-9.5). AGI risk among ACS participants was directly related to increasing number of mouthfuls of water swallowed. Various norovirus genotypes were detected in five out of seven stool specimens taken from ACS participants and in all three tested ACS water samples. We conclude that the AGI risk among open-water swimmers in urban areas depends on the circumstances around the event. The epidemiological curve, the statistical association between swimming and AGI, and the microbiological evidence for norovirus in stool and water specimens suggest that AGI outbreak after the ACS event was due to water contamination by multiple norovirus strains, which is possibly linked to sewage overflow due to prior heavy rainfall. There is need for more targeted preventive measurements and recommendations for organizers, municipal authorities and participants to prevent this reoccurring in the future.