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Archive for Sunday, August 24, 2003

Pools closed after outbreak set to reopen to swimmers

August 24, 2003

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Area swimming pools shut down Friday because of an illness outbreak in Lawrence caused by a parasite bacteria, will reopen today and Monday.

The Lawrence Aquatic Center, 727 Ky., will reopen at 1 p.m. today, city spokeswoman Lisa Patterson said. The Alvamar Country Club Pool, 4120 Clinton Parkway, also will reopen at 1 p.m. today, manager Ben Legler said.

Kansas University's Robinson Center indoor pool will be ready in time for a 9:30 a.m. class Monday, spokeswoman Lynn Bretz said.

This weekend, all of the pools underwent a hyperchlorination process designed to kill any traces of a parasite bacteria known as cryptosporidium.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department called for the closures Friday after 11 cases of cryptosporidiosis were diagnosed. The parasite is spread by human and animal waste.

The victims of the illness may have been swimming at the three pools plus the pool at Haskell Indian Nations University.

Rex Cully, who works in student services at Haskell, said the Haskell pool was being treated this weekend and would reopen Monday.

The KU pool, which was refilled only last week for the fall semester, was tested by health officials and no traces of the parasite were found, Bretz said. Robinson officials decided to go ahead with the hyperchlorination process anyway, she said.

The Health Department asks the public to cooperate in efforts to keep the pools clear of contamination from cryptosporidium.

"For the health of all swimmers it is essential that individuals with current or recent diarrhea not swim," said Health Department Director Kay Kent. "One the diarrhea clears up, swimmers should stay out of the pool for two weeks."

There is no effect on the city's drinking water, Kent said.

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