Archive for Thursday, September 25, 2003

Water park tested for parasites

September 25, 2003

The water park at the Great Wolf Lodge was evacuated last week in connection with a rash of illnesses in northeast Kansas.

The disease is cryptosporidiosis, an ailment caused by cryptosporidium, a parasite transmitted through person-to-person contact, day care facilities, recreational waters and swimming pools.

Thus far, 105 cases of the infection have been found in northeast Kansas, officials from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported this week.

Eighty-four of those were found in Douglas County, but there were reported cases of cryptosporidiosis in Wyandotte, Johnson and Leavenworth counties. There is no reason to believe the public water supplies in those counties have been tainted, health department officials said.

Water samples taken from the Great Wolf Lodge is still being tested at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga.

Management at the Great Wolf Lodge was alerted to the potential health risk last week when a Douglas County man, who had recently stayed at the hotel and water park, notified hotel staff he had been diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis.

Two other people who had stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge also contracted cryptosporidiosis.

On Thursday, Sept. 18, the water park at the hotel was shut down for testing. The facilities were hyper-chlorinated that evening.

"We said let's be proactive and treat it to the maximum," said Russell Archuleta, Great Wolf Lodge general manager. "We didn't want to take any chances."

At 6 p.m., Friday, health officials gave Great Wolf Lodge approval to reopen the water park.

"We've taken the necessary steps, and right now there are no concerns," Archuleta said. "We believe in community first and foremost and we always make sure our facilities are safe."

The management at Great Wolf Lodge plans to notify past guests of the water sample test results, Archuleta said

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