GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The splash pad at Millennium Park is closed until Sunday after a few cases of a common stomach illness were linked to the area. The splash pad will be cleaned and disinfected.
The illness, cryptosporidiosis, is one of the most common waterborne illnesses caused by a microscopic parasite found in human and animal fecal matter.
The Kent County Health Department said it's transmitted "when children swallow water that has been contaminated or after swimming and not washing hands thoroughly before handling food." Pregnant women, kids and adults with a weakened immune system are most susceptible.
This month, the health department reported nine cases -- six children and three adults -- when they would normally see about three cases. The cases were tracked to a visit to the splash pad on Aug. 8.
"There is a probability that additional cases will be found," said Bill Anstey of the Kent County Health Department. "One of the things that the health department also did was send out a health alert to the primary care providers in Kent County letting them know we have had elevated cases of crypto and that as their patients come in that they may want to look at that as a possible diagnosis."
Symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramping, fever, vomiting and dehydration and can last as long as two weeks.
"Crypto is highly resistant to standard amounts of chlorine, and difficult to detect in lab tests. In ponds and lakes, there are no control measures that can be taken other than personal protection and good hygiene," the health department said in a news release.
"It's difficult to prevent, but obviously good hygiene habits help. One, if you are sick, or if you have diarrhea, stay away from the parks and the water and those types of things until you are feeling better," said Anstey. "You come out of the water and you are going to the picnic, wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer if you don't have soap and water available to make sure you get the parasites or other germs off your hands before you eat."
To avoid spreading crypto, the Centers for Disease control recommends:
- Do not swim with diarrhea;
- Shower before and after swimming;
- Take kids on frequent bathroom breaks;
- Check their diapers often and change diapers in the bathroom, not near the water.
The splash pad will be closed until Sunday as it is disinfected with a heavy concentration of chlorine. After flushing the system with the chlorine, it must be vacant for 36 hours before reopening the splash pad.
The beach will remain open at a reduced entry fee.
The Millennium Park beach and splash pad has had more than 83,000 visitors this summer.
On the Net:
Deputies in Ottawa County are looking for two young boys after they were allegedly kidnapped by their father.
A plan to build an outlet mall in Byron Township did not move forward as expected Monday, MLive is reporting.
A bill before the House would hold back third-grade students who are not proficient in reading.