The water quality in Cardiff Bay varies from day to day. It is monitored by Cardiff Harbour Authority’s (CHA) Environment team, who provide a daily quality prediction of pass or fail.
In all open freshwater in the UK, there’s a risk of catching various infections and diseases, particularly for people who suffer from a reduced immunological response. Types of infections that are common include minor gastro-intestinal complaints, eye, ear and throat infections, typhoid, dysentery, and infectious hepatitis A. The risk is greatly increased by ingestion of the water.
This is one of the reasons why immersion sports, such as swimming, water skiing and windsurfing are only permitted when authorised by CHA. A list of prohibited water based activities can be obtained from the authority.
Whilst immunisation can reduce the risk of contracting certain diseases, there are others for which no vaccine protection available, eg Weil’s disease (leptospirosis). Weil’s disease is rare and the risk of contracting the disease is very low, but it can cause serious, even fatal, illness.
What should I do?
If you feel off colour following contact with open water, you should see a doctor immediately.
What can be done to reduce the risks?
The risk of contracting serious illness is low but by taking sensible precautions, the risk of infection can be further reduced. You should cover cuts with a waterproof dressing; wear footwear to protect feet from cuts; avoid ingestion of water; and avoid unnecessary immersion, especially of the head. If you have been in contact with the Bay water, wash or shower afterwards using soap and freshwater, especially before eating and drinking.
To find out more information on all potential water-borne illnesses, please visit the following website: www.nhs.uk.