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  1. #1
    Registered User Nightwalker's Avatar
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    Mtns of Pickens County, SC

    Unhappy Tainted Water at State Park Claims Victims in 20 Counties


    State health officials said yesterday that the number of people who contracted a severe intestinal illness from a play area with sprinklers at Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva, N.Y., has soared to more than 1,700.

    The outbreak of the disease, a parasitic waterborne infection called cryptosporidiosis, began about two months ago among visitors to the state park but went unnoticed until earlier this week, health officials said.

    Almost all those who were infected had spent time at a popular water attraction, the Sprayground, and were exposed to tainted water.

    As of yesterday, the illness had quickly spread to at least 20 counties and sickened 1,738 people, far surpassing the roughly 500 cases that are seen annually and becoming one of the largest outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis in the state's history.

    Still, health officials continued to stress last night that none of the infected were known to be critically ill, and that cases were likely to start tapering off.

    "Many people who reported illness have fully recovered and those who are now experiencing sickness are advised to seek medical attention," a state health department spokesman, Rob Kenny, said.

    On Monday, the Sprayground, a popular spot for families and day camps that gets about 40,000 visitors every August, was closed for the rest of the summer by park officials. They decided to close after health officials, acting on reports of a surge in cases of cryptosporidiosis from four counties, determined that the water might be contaminated.

    After an investigation, they found two separate tanks that feed the play area with water from a nearby town contained water tainted with protozoa that cause cryptosporidiosis. But they have not figured out how the parasites survived in the tanks, both equipped with chlorination and filtration systems.

    A spokeswoman for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Wendy Gibson, said the park would follow any steps to sanitize the water recommended by the health department.

    Several other parts of the park, including a beach within walking distance of the play area, have tested negative for the parasite.

    Ms. Gibson said that those parts of the park would remain open. "We're contacting families who have rented pavilions," she said, "to let them know that the Sprayground is closed but that the rest of the park is open."

    Cryptosporidiosis, frequently a cause of diarrhea for travelers, is highly contagious but generally not fatal except in people with weakened immune systems.

    The illness is contracted primarily through tainted water and spread from person to person by dirty hands.

    Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea that can last a week or more. The condition has no known cure but usually goes away on its own.

    Health officials said they were puzzled about how one disease managed to ripple through 20 counties before it came to their attention. They said last night that based on interviews, the earliest known victim began feeling sick more than two months ago, on June 8.

    Many others almost certainly became sick around the same time, they said, but probably thought they had the flu or diarrhea and let the illness run its course without seeing a doctor. In the meantime, health departments in at least four counties - Seneca, Monroe, Ontario and Wayne - began receiving sporadic reports from doctors and families. State health officials were first contacted on Aug. 11.

    Within five days, about 100 cases in the four counties had been reported to health officials. As of last night, 20 counties had reported cases, with Ontario having the most, 596.

    Jane C. McCaffrey, a pediatrician in Geneva, said that most of those infected were toddlers. Dr. McCaffrey and her five colleagues at Finger Lakes Medical Associates have fielded questions about the disease from hundreds of families and examined about 25 small children, many of whose symptoms led to dehydration. One was hospitalized.

    Although the disease started among children, it now appears to be spreading among adults who have not been to the park at all, Dr. McCaffrey said. She said she believed most people were picking it up either from children or from other infected adults, and that the numbers might continue to climb.

    "If people don't wash their hands, this could get pretty bad," she said.
    Last edited by Nightwalker; 08-20-2005 at 19:00.
    Just hike.

  2. #2
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Maryville, TN


    So while water sources are normally fairly clean of Crypto in the mountains and people treat and use filters there, the real danger is in civilization!

    The water filter manufacturers should be all over this! Think of the market and profits!
    SGT Rock

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide


  3. #3
    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Smyrna, GA


    I tell people this all the time. You seem more likely to get crypto from city water than spring water. Of course, that could be because more people consume treated than untreated water, and crypto is famously hard to erradicate.

    BTW, has anyone read Tank McNamara in the funnies today? It gets into the Sports Ade drink threads.

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