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Cause of sickness at Wichita-area wildlife splash park found

June 24, 2021 GMT

GODDARD, Kan. (AP) — Health officials have identified the bacteria that caused a outbreak of illnesses at a splash park near Wichita.

State and Sedgwick County health investigators said Wednesday the Shigella bacteria caused a diarrheal illness in at least three infected people who visited Tanganyika Wildlife Park.

Those people were the three original cases linked to the park, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Sedgwick County Health Department said in a news release. Several other visitors to the park have reported becoming ill.

The Shigella bacteria is spread from person-to-person through exposure to contaminated feces, the public health agencies said. That can occur through swallowing contaminated water, touching contaminated items and then touching your mouth, or cleaning up after someone using the bathroom or changing diapers.

An investigation began Friday when several people reported becoming ill after visiting the park.

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More than 200 people have responded to a survey designed to identify Tanganyika visitors with symptoms of fever, diarrhea or vomiting. It is not yet clear how many of the respondents may be connected to the outbreak at Tanganyika’s Splash Park, The Wichita Eagle reported.