July 22, 2008

Arlington to Close Public Pools Wednesday in Wake of Infections Possibly Tied to Burger’s Lake

By Jeff Mosier, The Dallas Morning News

Jul. 22--The number of confirmed cases of Cryptosporidium infections has increased to 16, Tarrant County Public Health announced today.

Meanwhile, the city of Arlington is following the request of the health department to hyperchlorinate all public pools. All seven public swimming pools will be closed Wednesday to allow for the treatment.

County officials last announced Friday that they knew about nine cases of the parasitic infection since the outbreak started in late June. Health officials are still waiting for water testing results from Burger's Lake in west Fort Worth, which could be the source of the outbreak.

The water samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Tests results were expected to be completed last weekend. Earlier testing done locally by the health department for fecal contamination -- which is how Cryptosporidium infections are usually spread -- was negative in the water used to fill the spring-fed Burger's Lake.

The privately-owned swimming hole voluntarily closed last week while health officials investigated the outbreak of cryptosporidiosis. The protozoa Cryptosporidium are among the most common causes of waterborne disease and can result in stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration.

The health department has asked all public pools to hyperchlorinate their water to prevent further infections, including those in Dallas, Collin and Denton counties.

"We are following the Health Department's recommendations as a matter of precaution," said Bill Gilmore, Arlington Parks and Recreation Assistant Director said in a press release. "No evidence of this parasite has been found in any City of Arlington pool, and we want to assure the public our water is safe."

Arlington pools are scheduled to reopen on Thursday. Wednesday's closings affect all public swimming pools, swim lessons and private rentals.


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