Hanna Park Lake Closed to Swimmers Parasite Giardia May Be in Water
Stobbe, Mike, Treen, Dana, The Florida Times Union
Jacksonville parks officials closed Hanna Park's 65-acre lake to
swimmers indefinitely yesterday because a family of three who
swam there last month came down with an intestinal infection
Park workers used loudspeakers to tell about 60 swimmers to get
out of the park's lake yesterday afternoon and posted eight "No
Giardia is a microscopic parasite that can infect a person's
small intestine and cause weeks of diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Duval County Health Department officials said they can't be
certain it was the lake water that infected the Jacksonville
family, but that there was a good chance it was.
If the lake in the ocean-front park was the source of their
illness, hundreds or thousands might have been infected, health
department director Jeff Goldhagen said.
On Tuesday, health officials received reports of the three
giardia cases. On Wednesday, they interviewed the family and
concluded they might have gotten it from the Hanna Park lake.
Yesterday, they recommended the lake be closed to swimmers.
Bill Potter, director of the city's parks department, agreed.
Park workers got told swimmers at 3:30 p.m. to get out of the
water and posted signs.
City officials said they could not recall another instance in
which a public lake or swimming pool in Jacksonville was shut
because it was potentially spreading disease.
Last week, giardia was found in a routine water sample taken
from a swimming pool at the Eagle Harbor community in Clay
County. But new test results that came back yesterday showed no
sign of the parasite, and an Eagle Harbor spokeswoman said the
pool might reopen this weekend.
Whether the Hanna Park lake water actually has giardia is
undetermined. Health department officials plan to test the water
in the next week for the presence of the parasite and will wait
to see if other recent lake swimmers report giardia.
"We will keep it closed until the results of all of the tests
and studies are performed, and [then] make a decision whether to
reopen," Potter said.
Boating and fishing will continue to be allowed in the lake
because those activities don't usually involve swallowing lake
water, Goldhagen said.
Giardia is usually ingested through hands or water that has
been in contact with human or animal feces. Many reported cases
stem from day-care centers or homes, where people are exposed to
the dirty hands and diapers of children. …