CHAPEL HILL – The Homestead Aquatic Center was closed briefly Friday morning after a swim team member exhibited symptoms of a water-borne parasite earlier in the week.
Tom Konsler, Environmental Health Director for the Orange County Health Department, said that there was no evidence to suggest that the parasite was contracted at any of the Town’s aquatics facilities.
Konsler said the person had swum in the pool earlier in the week.
The pool was super-chlorinated and disinfected as a precautionary measure by the Orange County Health Department and Aquatic Center.
“The reason that this came on our radar was that there was a person who tested positive for Cryptosporidium, which is an organism that causes diarrhea. Cryptosporidium can resist normal levels of chlorine in pools, and it can be spread through the pools by ingesting pool water that has been contaminated,” Konsler said.
Cryptosporidium is one of the most frequent causes of water-borne disease among humans in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control.
There are many species of Cryptosporidium that infect humans and animals. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time, and this makes it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection.
While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water—drinking water and recreational water—is the most common method of transmission.
“We recommended, and the Town of Chapel Hill thought it wise to go ahead and do the hyper-chlorination treatment,” Konsler said.
The Chapel Hill Aquatic Center is now open on its regular schedule.
For more information about the closure, you can contact Aquatic Center Director Robb English at 919-968-2789 or firstname.lastname@example.org.