Health officials reopen Klineline Pond

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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Clark County Public Health officials lifted the swimming advisory at Klineline Pond this morning -- just in time for what's expected to be the hottest weekend of the year so far.

Health officials closed the pond at Salmon Creek Park last week after several people got ill after swimming there. Water testing revealed the pond had shigella sonnei bacteria levels above what is considered safe for human contact.

Samples taken Monday and Wednesday showed the water is no longer contaminated with fecal bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illnesses such as shigellosis, according to the health department.

Public health closed the pond to swimmers on July 25 after investigating a third case of shigellosis that was linked to Klineline Pond. To date, health officials have investigated 15 cases of shigellosis.

People who were in contact with the water at Klineline Pond between June 27 and July 25 and are experiencing symptoms, such as bloody diarrhea, fecvr and abdominal pain, should contact their health care provider.

Public health officials will continue to monitor the pond for bacterial contamination weekly for the rest of the summer.

"We recommend that people not take diapered children into the pond because diapers easily leak into the water," said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer. "We also advise people who catch fish at Klineline Pond to always cook the fish completely, whether or not a health advisory has been issued."

Health officials offer these tips to avoid catching or spreading recreational water illnesses:

-Don't swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.

-Don't swallow the water, and avoid getting the water in your mouth.

-Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming, and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.

-Take your kids on bathroom breaks often.

-Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area, not near the water.

-Wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the water.