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Town closes pool in response to parasite scare

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

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 earlier today and began the process of hyper-chlorination to disinfect the pool. Signage announcing the closure will be posted at the facility. There is no timetable on when the aquatic center will reopen.

"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 will also post signage in the coming days 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."

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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