A day of fun at a water park became torment for dozens of Midwestern vacationers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that dozens of people were sickened after playing on a splash pad that was contaminated with fecal matter.
The CDC said the incident occurred at a wildlife theme park in Kansas, where 27 people fell ill in two separate outbreaks involving fecal-borne pathogens shigella bacteria and norovirus.
Shigella bacteria cause an infection called shigellosis, which causes bloody diarrhea, fevers, stomach pain, and the physical urge for a bowel movement even when the gut is empty. Similarly, the norovirus contagion is also known to cause abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and vomiting.
From the New York Post:
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment initially alerted the CDC to three people with shigellosis who visited the park on June 18, which led to a further investigation.
The CDC found that the outbreak caused by shigella occurred on June 11, 2021, striking 21 guests all under the age of 15. On June 18, six more visitors up to the age of 38 were infected with norovirus.
Three of those who were affected with shigellosis were hospitalized for approximately three days. Thankfully there were no deaths.
The CDC warns guests to be careful not to ingest water from public pools, and that splash pads are not necessarily associated with illness.
More from the Post:
The Kansas wildlife park’s splash pad, which included jets, tipping buckets and slides, wasn’t equipped with an automated system to maintain the correct chlorine concentration, and allowed for standing water to sit overnight in a tank, rather than being continuously recirculated, filtered and chlorinated. Instead, the reservoir water was filtered and disinfected only just before reuse during opening the following day, according to the CDC’s report.
Although the outbreak was limited to the Kansas wildlife park in this instance, the CDC recommends staying out of the water if sick with diarrhea. They also suggest you shower before getting into the water, take kids on bathroom breaks, and check diapers every hour.
The CDC also said to make sure you do not swallow pool water. Do not poop or pee in the water, and do not sit or stand on the jets as they can rinse feces off and into the water.