Local News

Jordan Lake Swimming Area Closed

Posted June 10, 1998

— A beach at Jordan Lake is closed and the Chatham County Health Department doesn't know when it will reopen.

The Vista Point Campground is closed because of an outbreak of shigellosis. Officials suspect contamination in the water and the soil may have made several children who sick after swimming in the water.

It's the first time the serious bacterial infection has been linked to Jordan Lake. Chatham County Health Department Director, Wayne Sherman, says the area is closed to protect the public."The decision was made to close Vista Point Beach at Jordan State Park due to some confirmed cases of shigella related to some children that were camping."

Fourteen year old Adam Edmonds was one of those kids who, two weeks ago, spent a fun weekend at Vista Point. But ever since then he's been taking it easy, trying to recuperate from the bacterial infection."I had a great time all weekend and when I got home I had a headache, and my back was hurting from sunburn. And then I woke up the next morning really cold. I had the chills."There are four other confirmed cases of shigellosis in young people who swam in the waters off Vista Point.

The infection may be linked to fecal matter in the lake. Shigellosis is easily passed through the water or from hand to mouth. Tests showed only low levels of fecal material in these waters.

Even though those levels are low, health officials are still running tests on the soil in Jordan Lake. They think higher levels of fecal matter may be in the mud, which gets stirred up when people swim in the lake.

Fecal coliform contamination may be caused by sewage spills, or by animal or human waste deposited in the water.

The bacteria can contain waterborne diseases including typhoid Fever, viral and bacterial gastro-enteritis, and Hepatitis A.

Right now, the state only tests for fecal coliform in swimming areas along the coast. Test results from the area at Jordan Lake are expected on Friday. That's when health officials will decide when Vista Point may be reopened.

Reporter: Landra Booker

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