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City Pool Closed After Swim By AIDS Victim

July 14, 1987 GMT

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (AP) _ City officials closed the Municipal Swimming Pool after reports that a person with AIDS was in the water, but state and federal medical officials said that was unnecessary.

″We are leaving it closed until we get word from the state Health Department,″ Mayor Sam Kapourales said Tuesday. ″Personally, I don’t think you can catch the virus with chlorine in the pool.″

Dr. Richard Hopkins, director of the AIDS control program in the state Health Department, said Williamson officials had overreacted.

″If they had asked us for advice, we would not have recommended that action,″ Hopkins said. ″I really don’t think there’s a problem in going into a pool where an AIDS victim has been. All they’re doing is depriving the people of the relaxation of the pool.″

″We have no reason to think that an AIDS patient swimming in a pool would pose a risk to anyone else,″ said Dr. Harold Jaffe, chief epidemiologist of the AIDS program at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

″It’s very unlikely that virus would get out into the water,″ Jaffe said. ″The virus is really in very low concentrations in body fluids, except in flood, and even in the water we would expect that the chlorine would kill the virus.″

Scientists say acquired immune deficiency syndrome can be transmitted by sexual contact, transfusions of infected flood or blood products, or through the sharing of contaminated hypodermic needles by drug abusers, not by casual contact.

Kapourales said he was told Monday that an AIDS victim was swimming in the pool.

To prevent panic, Kapourales said, swimmers and sunbathers were informed by pool manager Dick Roddy that they had to leave because the pool pump was malfunctioning.

Kapourales said the swimmer, who lives in nearby Pikeville, Ky., was the same person who was barred from serving a 24-hour sentence in the Mingo County Jail in May by Circuit Court Judge Elliot E. Maynard after the man tested positive for the AIDS virus.

″The judge won’t even let him in the jail. How can we let him in the pool?″ Kapourales asked.

Hopkins said that if he had been asked he would have advised the judge to let the man serve his sentence.