Houston & Peach

Multiple parasite cases linked to Warner Robins water park

Visitors try out a ride at Rigby’s Water Park earlier this year. The park closed part of last week after a child who had been to the park tested positive for a parasite.
Visitors try out a ride at Rigby’s Water Park earlier this year. The park closed part of last week after a child who had been to the park tested positive for a parasite. jvorhees@macon.com

People running a new water park in Warner Robins say its water is safe after it shut down last week when a child who had been to the park tested positive for a parasite.

According to a release posted on Rigby’s Water World’s Facebook page Tuesday, on Aug. 8 the park was notified that a child who had visited the park on July 29 had tested positive for Cryptosporidium, commonly referred to as crypto. Representatives of the park state that they immediately notified the health department and shut down the park.

Michael Hokanson, spokesman for the North Central Health District, said as of Tuesday five crypto cases had been confirmed from people who have visited the park and four other suspected cases are being investigated. He is setting up an online survey to allow people who have visited the park to report any symptoms that may be linked.

He said the incubation period for a crypto infection can be up to two weeks. He advised anyone who has visited the park and is suffering any gastrointestinal symptoms to see a doctor. Hokanson said he had no information on the condition of the people infected by the parasite.

After the shut down, and following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, workers at the park increased the chlorine levels in the water to 10 times the normal operating amount for 13 hours. Once the chemical levels returned to normal, the park reopened Saturday with approval from the health department.

According to the CDC, Cryptosporidium, is a microscopic parasite that causes diarrhea. It has a protective outer shell that can survive for long periods of time outside of a host body and is “very tolerant” of chlorine disinfection. It is the leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the U.S.

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