August 05, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

Water Park Closed Due to E. Coli

In cooperation with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, the City of Strafford has closed the Splash Park/Spray Ground located in the Howard Smith Community Park on Bumgarner Boulevard until further notice. After test results of the water on August 3rd showed high levels of coliform and the presence of E. coli, city administration promptly shut down the water park and continue to work with health department staff to ensure proper chlorination levels can be maintained before the park reopens.

Recreational water illnesses (RWI) are caused by germs like Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E. coli and Shigella and are spread when people get water contaminated with fecal matter in their eyes, nose or mouth. Recreational water illnesses can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea.

There have been no confirmed cases of recreational water illness associated with the water park, but parents are encouraged to watch their children for symptoms including diarrhea or skin rash. Parents of children who played in the water and have these symptoms should contact the child’s health care provider for guidance.

Germs that cause recreational water illnesses can be killed with proper chlorination, but even the best maintained pools can still contain germs, because chlorine doesn’t work right away. It takes time to kill germs, and some germs, like Cryptosporidium and can live in pools for days.

Parents can protect their families from recreational water illnesses and help stop germs from getting into the water in the first place with some basic health and safety tips.

Health department staff routinely test the water in public swimming pools and five local natural swimming holes, and will begin doing the same at the Strafford Splash Park. For more information, visit the health department’s Web site at www.springfieldmo.gov/health.

Media contact:
Jaci McReynolds, Public Information Administrator, (417) 874-1205 office, (417) 830-9511 cell

springfield greene county health department
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Harold K. Bengsch Building

227 E. Chestnut Expwy. • Springfield, MO 65802
417-864-1658 • health.springfieldmo.gov