A specialist in biological and chemical warfare has explained why he believes you should never get in a Las Vegas pool, and it's a rollercoaster.
Author Dan Kaszeta began his career as a Chemical Officer in the US Army. He then became a defense contractor, working with the Pentagon on chemical and biological proliferation issues. His career spans historical research for the USA's decommissioned chemical and biological weapons programs to training on live nerve agents.
Basically he's got the kind of C.V. that if he says "don't go in that pool" you don't get in that pool. Which made the following tweets quite worrying for Las Vegas pool fans.
After receiving a few annoyed replies from Las Vegas pool enthusiast Twitter for the enigmatic tweet, he decided to elaborate on why you shouldn't go swimming in a Las Vegas pool, or even touch the water. Fair warning, it makes for some grim reading.
In a Twitter thread, he explains in the late 1990s he was working as the "chemical and biological terrorism guy at the White House Military Office," right around the time they were starting to take chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense seriously. While working there, he got a call from another federal agency that needed his help.
Kaszeta hooked up the caller with a lab that could do a full chemical and biological analysis on a sample they needed looking at. The particular lab used a process that involved analyzing control samples, or "blanks", as well as the suspect substance. The scientists involved were not told which was which.
The suspicious sample, it turned out, contained something relatively harmless "like glycerine". But the control sample, in this case, swimming pool water from a major Las Vegas Hotel, hoo boy.
So far, so disgusting. But he wasn't done. Being a science guy, he asked the contact to collect more samples from other pools "for giggles". Same results.
Kaszeta was doing this for his own amusement, and so didn't publish a paper on the subject. Nevertheless, there are scientific studies on outbreaks linked to swimming pools, such as this one published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. A worldwide study, it found swimming pools are a source of almost half of outbreaks caused by fecal-oral transmission (48 percent). Yum.
Shigella spp, E. coli, and Norovirus are also known to be spread in swimming pools. The problem found by Kaszeta might just be a problem with swimming pools in general, which is debatable if that's good or bad news.
On the other hand, the majority of people who use pools don't get ill. So try not to think about it, keep your mouth closed, and don't ingest the water and you'll hopefully remain in the majority.