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KDHE, Sedgwick County identify bacteria in cases linked to Tanganyika splash park

Tanganyika Wildlife Splash Park
Tanganyika Wildlife Splash Park(KWCH)
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) on Wednesday identified a bacteria in three cases of illnesses identified as being linked to the splash park at Tanganyika Wildlife Park, west of Wichita. Working with the Sedgwick County Health Department, the KDHE said it continues to investigate cases of illnesses associated with the park.

“KDHE became aware of the possible link between the cases on Friday, June 18 and began investigation the same day,” the department said.

Initially, the KDHE said there were three cases that were identified as linked to the park. These cases have tested positive for Shigella, a bacteria spread from person-to-person through exposure to contaminated stool (feces).

“Shigella spreads easily; just a small number of bacteria can spread illness. Someone can become infected with Shigella through swallowing contaminated recreational water, touching items that are contaminated and touching your mouth, or caring for someone who has Shigella, including cleaning up after the person uses the bathroom or changing diapers,” the KDHE explained.

On Sunday, the KDHE and Sedgwick County Health Department released a survey for people who had visited Tanganyika.

On June 20, KDHE and SCHD released a survey for people who had visited Tanganyika and experienced fever, diarrhea or vomiting.

“More than 200 people have responded to the survey. Further analysis of the survey results will determine which respondents may be connected to this investigation,” the KDHE said.

If you experienced symptoms of fever, diarrhea, or vomiting after visiting Tanganyika Wildlife Park on or after May 28, 2021 and have not completed the survey, state and local health officials ask you to do so here: https://tinyurl.com/kdhesplash, and to ask the medical provider to test your stool (feces) if you visit a healthcare facility.

If you live in Sedgwick County, and do not have access to a computer to complete the survey, the KDHE advises contacting the Sedgwick County Health Department via email at DiseaseReporting@sedgwick.gov or calling 316-660-5558 and leave a message.

If you live outside of Sedgwick County and do not have access to a computer to complete the survey, please contact your local health department.

“This investigation remains ongoing and KDHE and Sedgwick County Health Department will continue to provide updates to the public and patrons of the park,” the KDHE said.

In response to the findings, Tanganyika Wildlife Park Director Matt Fouts issued the following statement:

“I’m glad the county and KDHE were able to confirm the bacteria that connected the three cases.  Not knowing what is wrong is sometimes more stressful and scary.  It has been one of the most frequently asked questions we have received and we weren’t able to provide an answer.  Now those that are sick can consult with their doctors to see if that is what is affecting them and get the proper treatment.”

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