MIDLAND, Texas (BIG2/FOX24) – Fall came earlier than expected at the Dennis the Menace park In midland. The city announced last Friday that the splash pad would be closed for the remainder of the season.
“’No, we’re not going swimming,’ I said because you know they found a bacteria in the water,” explained one grandmother, Roxanne Galarza. “And they were like, ‘What grandma?!’ and I said, ‘Well, I don’t know what happened baby.’”
The evil buzzkill to the children’s day off is known as Crypotosporidiosis – parasite found in the fecal matter of infected people.
“We have a list of notifiable conditions in the state of Texas,” explained Midland Health Department’s Nursing Supervisor, Becky Smith. “So any time a doctor or a lab finds a patient with one of those infections, they have to report to us.”
On average, it takes the water-borne illness seven days for an infected person to experience symptoms.
“You know, hand washing if they’re not good at hand washing… But when we say water-borne, it also can be in contaminated water that we drink, water that our fruits and vegetables are watered with. It’s not always in water that we play in,” said Smith.
Smith says cases of “Crypto” are not common as the U.S. has strict guidelines on water quality fit for drinking, growing crops, and maintaining public facilities.
“When you see it, you see it sporadically but in clusters,” said Smith. “Have we ever seen it? Of course, we see infections all the time.”
While the disease is usually self-limiting, those with weak immune systems need to take caution.
“It can take longer to get rid of if you don’t have a well immune system, and it can even be deathly if you have an unhealthy immune system. Something immunocompromising: cancer, HIV, something like that.”
Smith says there are medicine available for prescription, but the best way to combat the illness is to stay hydrated.
“It’s scary to know that you come out to have a good time with your kids and then going home, a couple hours later, you’re at the hospital with your child, because they contracted a bacteria and you don’t even have a clue on what to do, or how they got it, or where they got it, or how they contained it… So, it’s scary,” said Galarza.