Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Swimming Ban May Be Permanent Hanna Park Water Probe Continues

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Swimming Ban May Be Permanent Hanna Park Water Probe Continues

Article excerpt

City officials are considering permanently closing Hanna Park's

65-acre lake to swimmers and might expand plans to create a

"splash park" nearby.

Meanwhile, an investigation of the lake water and of the

illness suffered by some recent swimmers continues.

Final decisions on what to do about the lake are at least a

week away, city officials said yesterday.

"I don't think we're ready to make that [permanent closure]

decision yet," said Susan Wiles, Jacksonville Mayor John

Delaney's deputy chief of staff.

It has been almost three weeks since workers at the oceanside

park posted "No Swimming" signs and used loudspeakers to tell

swimmers to leave the water.

Those actions came after the Duval County Public Health

Department got reports a family of three who swam in the lake in

early June later became sick. They suffered abdominal pain and

diarrhea that stayed with them for weeks.

In early July, the family went for medical care, and tests

showed they had giardiasis, caused by a microscopic parasite

that spreads through human and animal feces and settles in its

victims' intestines.

The health department also received complaints of feces

floating in the lake and of dogs swimming in the water, and

decided to close the lake to swimmers "indefinitely," pending

the results of an investigation, said Jeff Goldhagen, the health

department's director.

Swimmers were at risk of ingesting the giardia parasite because

they tend to swallow water. The lake remains open to fishing

because people generally do not eat fish intestines, health

officials said.

The health department was unable to test for the giardia

parasite in the water because the lake was too large and the

test too delicate to offer useful results. …

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