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Parasite scare closes pool over weekend

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WAKE FOREST — The Wake Forest Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources (PRCR) Department temporarily closed Holding Park Aquatic Center (HPAC) last week after Wake County health officials learned a person who contracted a highly contagious parasite at another location visited the pool prior to showing symptoms.

The pool was closed Thursday and reopened on Sunday.

Cryptosporidium, or Crypto for short, is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The parasite can be spread when an infected person, most often a child, swims too soon after having a case of diarrhea.

As a precautionary measure, the PRCR Department closed the aquatic center Aug. 1 and began the process of hyper-chlorination to disinfect the pool.

“As a precaution, we voluntarily closed the facility to hyper-chlorinate the pools according to CDC guidelines and under the guidance of the Wake County Environmental Health & Safety Department,” PRCR Director Ruben Wall said.

According to Wall, the Wake County Health Department was first notified that a person had contracted Crypto. Health department officials then followed up to find out where the person had been and learned that the individual had visited the HPAC.

Wall added the PRCR Department is taking proactive steps to ensure all spaces and supplies are thoroughly disinfected and pose no safety risk.

“We are treating this with the utmost precaution and transparency,” he said.

The PRCR Department posted signage to remind visitors of healthy swimming habits.

“To protect ourselves from crypto, the best thing we can do is not swallow the water we swim in,” Wall added. “We want to keep crypto out of the pool in the first place, and the way we do that is not to swim or let our children swim when they’re sick with diarrhea.”

According to Aquatech Pool Management Group, the company that manages HPAC, staff implemented procedures “that exceed requirements as a precautionary measure.” In addition, Aquatech staff spent the day Saturday disinfecting door knobs, countertops, furniture and restrooms.

Wall cautioned residents to do their part to keep the HPAC clean and safe.

“We want to keep the pool as clean and safe as possible,” said Wall, “so if you’re sick, don’t swim.”

For more information, visit wakeforestnc.gov and search “Aquatic Center,” or contact PRCR Director Ruben Wall at 919-435-9561 or rwall@wakforestnc.gov.

More information about Cryptosporidium can be found at bit.ly/31cb9BI.


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