GODDARD, Kan. (AP) — A new federal study has found that dozens of people fell ill after visiting a water park near Wichita, Kansas last summer.
The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that 21 people contracted Shigella bacteria and six others fell ill with norovirus after visiting the Tanganyika Wildlife Park water park in Goddard. According to The Wichita Eagle, 36 other people reported gastrointestinal illnesses after visiting the water park, but did not have lab tests confirming the cause of their illnesses. At least four people were subsequently hospitalized.
Previously, state and local health officials said eight people who visited the park contracted Shigella and others tested positive for norovirus, sapovirus and one type of E. coli called enteropathogenic E. coli.
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The CDC report is based on a survey of 404 people who visited the water park last year between May 28 and June 19.
The water park located about 22.53 kilometers west of Wichita was allowed to reopen last July after upgrading its pump and filtration system and passing a health inspection.
The report confirmed that the illnesses were not linked to any of the animals in the interactive zoo.
At least three lawsuits have been filed against the splash pad. One of them has been settled, but two others remain outstanding.
Wildlife park manager Matt Fouts told the newspaper he didn’t find the study helpful despite being “all about analyzing the data to learn from the past”.
“It offered little guidance for other water parks beyond making sure you had ‘don’t swallow the water’ signs and offered no additional insight into the investigation,” Fouts said. “In any event, he said there were no additional incidents because we took the situation seriously and found ways to improve our system and processes so that Splash Park be safer than ever.”
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