16 infected with parasite at splash pad - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

16 infected with parasite at splash pad

ATHENS-CLARKE COUNTY (CBS46) -

A child infected with a parasite called cryptosporidium is believed to have contaminated the water supply at the East Athens Community Park splash pad.

The infection took place on Aug. 3 after a number of people, mostly children, who attended a private party became sick. The incubation period for the parasite cryptosporidium tested positive in one of the children who had diarrhea.

"If you have had diarrhea in the past two weeks or suspect a child has diarrhea we ask that you not get in the water because you are putting others at risk," Keith Kirkland said. Kirkland is the maintenance supervisor for Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services.

Athens-Clarke County wasn't notified about the outbreak until Aug. 11 because of the incubation period. On Aug. 12 they shocked the splash pad to kill the parasite.

"We doubled what the CDC's dosage and time recommendations are for treating crypto to eradicate it," Kirkland said.

That means anyone who used the splash pad the weekend of Aug. 10 could have been exposed to it. So far, no new cases have come forward.

"Cryptosporidium is a parasite that has an outer coating on it that is resistant to all disinfectants," Kirkland said. "So, it can take days at a normal chlorination level for cryptosporidium to be totally eradicated."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent cryptosporidium is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease among humans in the United States. It is acquired by swallowing water that is contaminated with the parasite through fecal matter.

Kirkland said the regular maintenance schedule to shock the water system is on Mondays. From now on, they will treat the water to the recommended dosage each week to kill crypto.

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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