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Three Contract Bacterial Infection After Swimming in Bull Creek

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Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days.

Three people have become infected with Shigella bacteria after swimming at Bull Creek Park, prompting the Austin/Travis County Health department to advise people to stay out of the creek. Dr. Phillip Huang, the Health Department’s Medical Director, said:

“There’s always a risk when you’re swimming in any of these natural bodies of water, so we always have the recommendation that people swim at their own risk. What we’ve identified is that we just received three reports of Shigella infection that are linked to sort of exposure at the Bull Creek Park in particular.”

Shigella causes diarrhea and can cause stomach cramping and fever. 

The creek has been found to have high levels of bacteria. The three infected individuals were swimming at the park near Spicewood Springs Road and Loop 360. It's not the first time Bull Creek has been found to be contaminated, and the city has tried for years to address the problem.

"I think that there's general overuse, in some ways, of the parks, a lot of people at the parks. I'm hearing reports that there are discarded diapers around the area, just really a large number of people that are sort of overwhelming the body of water," Huang said.

People who ingest Shigella bacteria typically develop symptoms within three days. The health department advises people who think they’ve been infected to contact a physician.

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