Opelika Splash Park works to keep kids safe after E. coli scare - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Opelika Splash Park works to keep kids safe after E. coli scare

OPELIKA, AL - 2 children have tested positive with the E. coli infection in East Alabama after visiting the Splash Park inside the Opelika Sportsplex and Aquatic Center.

The Alabama Department of Public Health and the facility are trying to make sure the infection stops there.  Nearly a thousand children visit the Splash Park in Opelika every week.  They say their first priority is making sure all those kids are safe.

The water park has been closed since Monday after local health officials told the center four children had gotten sick.  Two tested positive for E. coli infection.

Health officials say the one common factor is the children all visited the Splash Park.  Sam Bailey, Director for Opelika Parks and Recreation said they were shocked to hear about the infection.

"Normally, when you hear about something like this, it is in a pool.  As you can see, a facility like this water doesn't stand on the deck.  Water immediately goes back into the system, goes through the chlorinator, filter, and all before it is put back out," said Bailey.

He said they immediately closed the park and Alabama health officials came in to take samples.  Bailey says those samples turned up clean without signs of fecal matter or bacteria.  Now the center is waiting for results from a second round of tests.  

Dr. Mary McIntyre with the Alabama Department of Public Health says the problems occurred between June 12th and 20th.  For those who visited the park during that time she describes the symptoms parents should look out for.

"Vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps.  They need to seek medical attention," said McIntyre.

Bailey said he is confident their clearing system is working and believes the infection was brought into this facility.  However, he says if there are any changes that need to be made, they will make them so children can go back to playing.

Alabama health officials say once the splash park is able to meet some procedures for the CDC and the health department, they will be ready to open back up.  The rest of the Opelika Sportsplex is still open including the indoor swimming pool.

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