Recreational water illness: An illness that is spread by swallowing, breathing, or having contact with contaminated water from swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, decorative water fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including skin, ear, respiratory, eye, and wound infections. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea. Diarrheal RWIs can be caused by germs such as Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium), Giardia, Shigella, and E. coli O157:H7.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016