Risk when swimming in the River Thames

A report published 30 May 2013 by Public Health England (PHE) shows that swimming in the River Thames can carry a risk of gastrointestinal illness.

The report was produced following an investigation by PHE, and event organisers Human Race, into an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness amongst participants of the Hampton Court Swim which took place on Sunday 7 October 2012 in the stretch of river between Hampton Court and Kingston Bridge.

Over 1,000 people took part in the swim and 338 reported experiencing symptoms of illness after the swim including nausea, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting.

Human Race has welcomed the findings of the report and has put in place measures to ensure that participants can take the necessary steps to avoid being ill following open water swimming.

All participants taking part in this year’s Hampton Court Swim will be highly recommended to ensure that they wash their hands and shower as soon as possible following the swim, based on the recommendations from Public Health England. In addition to this, Human Race will be encouraging participants to properly wash down their wetsuit and will be providing somewhere to wash hands to ensure that every possible step is taken to avoid participant illness.

View Public Health England press release

Download full report