A number of Bristol residents have been suffering illnesses after swimming in local rivers, reports suggest.
Public Health England has now confirmed a rise in norovirus-type illnesses nationally.
Open water swimmers on social media network Reddit have been writing about “upset stomachs” and vomiting after bathing in the water at Conham River Park.
One user reports they were “puking up all day” after swimming in the waters near Beese’s Riverside Bar in the River Avon.
While another says they felt “nauseous and lethargic” after bathing in the river at Eastwood Farm.
A spokesman for Public Health England has confirmed today (July 29) that the country is currently “seeing cases of what we would deem more traditionally ‘winter’ type illnesses such as norovirus and respiratory illnesses”.
Recent hot weather has led to a number of popular open water destinations, such as Clevedon Marine Lake, having to close due to the water quality and number of people using them.
Government advice on swimming in open water locations and rivers states: “These locations that are not designated as bathing waters are managed for the purpose of protecting fish and wildlife, not people, so health risks from using these locations may be higher than at designated bathing waters.
“These waters are not monitored for the two types of bacteria; intestinal enterococci and E. coli, which are used to assess bathing water quality.
“They can contain levels of sewage, faeces from livestock and pollution from farming or industry which are harmless to wildlife but would not be acceptable in designated bathing waters.”
Professor Saheer Gharbia, deputy director, National Infection Service, Public Health England, said: “Norovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting bug, has been at lower levels than normal throughout the pandemic with less opportunity to spread between people in the community but as restrictions have eased we have seen an increase in cases across all age groups.
“Symptoms include sudden onset of nausea, projectile vomiting and diarrhoea but can also include a high temperature, abdominal pain and aching limbs.
“Stay at home if you are experiencing norovirus symptoms and do not return to work or send children to school or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.
“As with COVID-19, handwashing is really important to help stop the spread of this bug, but remember, unlike for COVID-19 alcohol gels do not kill off norovirus so soap and water is best.”