Cryptosporidiosis Alert: Water Park Contamination Raises Health Concerns

Cryptosporidiosis Alert: Water Park Contamination Raises Health Concerns

An incident at a popular water park has left a Ripley mum concerned about the health risks posed to her two children.

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The children–a four-year-old, and the other just 20 months old–were reported to have contracted a parasitic infection, believed to be cryptosporidiosis, which resulted in hospitalisation.

Cryptosporidiosis, commonly known as “crypto,” is a diarrheal disease that is caused by the microscopic parasite Cryptosporidium. Young children are mainly affected by the illness, which spreads through contact with the faeces of an infected individual or animal. The parasite has a notable capacity to survive outside the body for prolonged periods and is resistant to chlorine disinfection, making water the primary means of transmission.

The affected children exhibited stomach cramps, high temperatures, vomiting, and diarrhoea as symptoms of the infection. They were given intravenous fluids and antibiotics for several days to fight the illness. Further tests confirmed that they had cryptosporidiosis, and the ACDC reached out to the mum to identify the probable source of the infection.

The ACDC later informed her that the potential infection sources had been narrowed down to two popular locations among families with young children: the Orion Lagoon in Springfield and the Providence Ripley Splash N’ Play Park.

West Moreton Health, meanwhile, confirmed an increase in the number of cryptosporidiosis cases. Working with Ipswich City Council and Ripley facility operators, they have initiated an investigation into the rising incidents.

Routine sampling and testing of the water in all public pools and splash parks were conducted to identify any common sources of infection. Despite concerns from residents, however, water quality tests at Orion Lagoon have shown no issues.

On the other hand, the safety and testing measures at the Providence Ripley water park were not the responsibility of the Council, but rather the developer, Stockland.

Whilst Stockland is responsible for maintaining the Ripley water park, including conducting regular water tests, they have no involvement with the Orion Lagoon.

In 2022, water tests at the Ripley water park showed contamination, resulting in the immediate closure of the Splash ‘n’ Play facility until tests showed the water was safe.

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Queensland Health recommends the following preventive measures to keep Cryptosporidiosis at bay:

  • Washing hands thoroughly after using the toilet, changing nappies and before handling food or eating
  • washing the hands of toddlers and babies after a nappy change
  • washing hands after contact with pets, and after cleaning up animal faeces
  • washing hands after gardening or other direct contact with soil
  • washing hands after contact with cattle and other farm animals
  • washing fruit and vegetables before eating them
  • not eating or drinking unpasteurised milk products
  • not drinking untreated water and inadequately filtered water and boiling untreated water or water of unknown quality for at least one minute before drinking
  • not swallowing water in swimming pools or other recreational water
  • avoid swimming in natural waters (rivers, creeks, dams, surf) within a week after heavy rain
  • not sharing linen and towels during diarrhoea and for 2 weeks after diarrhoea has stopped.

Published 10-May-2023