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Original Cause of Illness: Swimming in Polluted Water?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Farmkeeper, May 9, 2016.

  1. Farmkeeper


    In the five months before I originally became ill with ME in 1991, I briefly "swam" a few times in the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia. The swims were both intentional and unintentional, as I was learning to row a rowing shell, and we were required to demonstrate that we could climb back into our boats. Since then, I have learned that that stretch of river is now (25 years later) highly polluted, and presumably was when I became ill. Raw sewage dumps into the river following storms when the city's storm sewers are overloaded. My first symptoms included a brief gastrointestinal illness.

    Has anyone else ever wondered whether a pathogen caused by contamination might have triggered their illness? My hypothesis would seem stronger if I'd become ill immediately following an immersion in the river. In fact, I became ill following an intense exercise regime over the five-month period, interspersed with perhaps two or three spills into the river.
    Jennifer J likes this.
  2. BurnA

    BurnA Senior Member

    There has been plenty of discussion relating onset to exercise on the forums.
  3. *GG*

    *GG* senior member

    Concord, NH
    Is the River more polluted now or then? With population growth, some were good back in 91, but now might not be, depends upon how much money has been spent on minimizing non-point source pollution.

    The more an area is developed, the more that when a storm comes in, due to impervious surfaces, that sewerage systems are more quickly inundated and you would have the release of untreated water.

    There are Rivers now in Mass. that are better to swim in than 25 years ago, but I think it goes the other way some times.

    Jennifer J likes this.
  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Dr John Chia, who specializes in enterovirus-associated ME/CFS, has often noted that ME/CFS can follow a swim or waters sports in lakes. Enteroviruses are often found in lakes, and when people get a gastrointestinal infection from a lake, enterovirus is a possible cause.

    Here is what Dr Chia said at the Invest in ME London 2010 ME/CFS Conference (timecode 3:30 on the DVD):
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  5. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

    I was swimming a lot in the sea just before I became ill and I did hear later that there had been a lot of pollution there around the same time

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