(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) continue to investigate cases of illness associated with Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard, Kan., just west of Wichita.
KDHE became aware of the first three cases linked to the park on June 18. All three people tested positive for Shigella bacteria. Water samples collected by KDHE at Tanganyika Splash Park on June 19 were tested at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No Shigella bacteria were detected, but coliform and E. coli bacteria were detected in some of the samples. In water sample testing, the presence of these bacteria indicates likely fecal contamination. The water results are a snapshot of water quality on the day the samples were collected. Further interpretation of the water sample results is ongoing.
Three additional people have tested positive for Shigella bacteria, bringing the total cases linked to the park to six. All six cases visited the Splash Park area on June 11, 2021. Investigations into other possible linked cases are ongoing. Additional testing is underway to determine if the bacteria from each person are related.
KDHE and SCHD have also identified other diarrheal illnesses among individuals who reported being at the Splash Park. Individuals have tested positive for norovirus, sapovirus, and a type of E. coli called enteropathogenic E. coli. Investigations are ongoing as to whether these illnesses are associated with exposure at the Splash Park.
The Splash Park has remained closed since June 19. Since then, Sedgwick County has worked with Tanganyika on improvements to processes which will meet the CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (www.cdc.gov/mahc).
This investigation remains ongoing and KDHE and SCHD will continue to provide updates to the public and patrons of the park.
Shigella bacteria spread easily; just a small number of bacteria can spread illness person-to-person through exposure to contaminated stool (feces). Someone can become infected with Shigella through swallowing contaminated recreational water; touching items that are contaminated and touching the mouth; or caring for someone who has Shigella, including cleaning up after the person who uses the bathroom or when changing diapers.