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CDC finds E. coli in water samples from Goddard park

By: - July 2, 2021 6:22 pm

Cases of a diarrheal infection and several reports from parents of sick and hospitalized children led Tanganyika Wildlife Park to close its splash zone Saturday. (Photo by Lee Jeffs/Unsplash)

Water samples from a Goddard splash pad linked to widespread illness contained E. coli, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Friday.

KDHE began investigating the Tanganyika Wildlife Park after learning June 18 that numerous visitors to the park’s splash pad had reported being sick. Some cases required hospital attention.

Water samples collected by KDHE and tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detected coliform and E. coli bacteria.

KDHE said six people have now tested positive for Shigella bacteria, which releases toxins that irritate the intestines. Other people have tested positive for norovirus, sapovirus and enteropathogenic E. coli.

The test results indicate likely fecal contamination, the agency said.

The park closed its splash pad on June 19. Health officials continue to investigate.

The Wichita Eagle reports 47 people have joined a lawsuit against the park after becoming violently ill and suffering from “repeated bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and fever.”

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Sherman Smith
Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.

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