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Dozens of people suffered from gastrointestinal illnesses after visiting a water park near Wichita, Kansas last summer, according to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study released Friday.
The bacterial and viral outbreak was linked to the water park at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard.
The CDC report, based on a survey of 404 people who visited the water park last year between May 28 and June 19, says 21 people contracted Shigella bacteria and six others fell ill with norovirus. At least four people were subsequently hospitalized.
According to the report, both illnesses were associated with wading water in the mouth, which confirmed that the illnesses were not linked to any of the zoo animals.
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At least three lawsuits have been filed against the park, the Wichita Eagle reported. One of them has been settled, but two others remain outstanding.
The water park about 14 miles west of Wichita was allowed to reopen last July after upgrading its pump and filtration system and passing a health inspection.
Wildlife park manager Matt Fouts told the newspaper he didn’t find the study helpful, although he was “fully supportive of analyzing the data to learn from the past”.
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“It offered little advice for other splash parks beyond making sure you had ‘don’t swallow the water’ signs and offered no additional insight into the investigation,” Fouts said. “In any event, he said there were no additional incidents because we took the situation seriously and found ways to improve our system and processes so that Splash Park be safer than ever.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.