Guest Column - March 2009
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Aquatics

Outbreak Survival Guide

By Elise Knox


The End Result

Finally, people actually thanked us for enforcing rules! It was amazing how supportive our patrons became as we explained why we had breaks and required showers.

The month of August was very tough for us, as the Metroplex was having a reasonable panic over the "Crypto-Scare" in the Fort Worth area. With each nightly news show, we could see our attendance dropping. Even though we made the big news stations with our prevention program, we still took a big hit in our revenue.

I did get the horrifying call from the local health department that a woman infected with crypto while she was on vacation came home and visited her doctor for treatment. She must have been feeling better, because when the health department called to check on her, they found out she had just visited our facility. We did an emergency hyperchlorination and a lot of damage control in our publicity.

Although we did not have a major outbreak, we did have one confirmed case after being exposed by the diagnosed swimmer. We now have the confidence that we took the correct precautions to prevent this parasite from becoming a devastating infection of our facility. We are currently searching the industry and hoping for a better method of testing the water—or maybe someday there just might be a way to screen our guests for crypto before they enter our facility!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elise Knox has been in the aquatics industry since 1976, when she started helping her mother with Red Cross training courses. Her current facility at The Colony has four pools ranging from 165,000 gallons down to 6,000 gallons, including a splash play area. She has been the aquatics director at The Colony since 1986. For more information on the chemical solution used at The Colony, visit www.seaklear.com.

For more information about The Colony Aquatic Park, visit www.ci.the-colony.tx.us/Depts/PARD/Aquatics/Aquatics.html.