Parents call for more warning about parasites at park
PARENTS of two children who developed a rash after swimming at a water park are calling for more warning about a water-born parasite which can cause blemishes.
Archie Stanton, eight, and his brother Henry, six, developed "large red lumps and a red rash" on their skin after they visited Cotswold Country Park and Beach in Shorncote, near Cirencester.
Their mother Nicola now says more must be done to warn bathers of the parasite, which can give people a skin condition known as Swimmer's Itch', before visitors enter the country park.
Mrs Stanton, 37, an RSPCA rehoming officer, said: "My concern here is the fact you are not told of this until you enter the beach area. Swimmers Itch was not explained correctly. There was a little sign, which didn't really explain what it was so we didn't think anything of it. They should explain clearly what the sign means and what the side effects are."
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The boys complained of itching on the same day as their visit to the park and developed angry, red blotches overnight. It was only when she researched Swimmer's Itch online that Nicola realised it was a parasite, which burrowed under the skin.
Mrs Stanton added: "If I had known it was a parasite, there's no way I would have let my children go in the water. Who really wants their children covered in red itchy large spots for two weeks over the summer holidays?
"They are now covered in more than 20 red lumps and rashes all over their body, meaning they are very itchy and very unsightly for swimming and enjoying the hot weather. They burst when you scratch them.
"It's a lovely park but I think they should spell out the facts before you go in so that you can make a judgement."
Country park bosses said notices were posted across the beach area about the parasite, which hatches during warmer weather.
Duty manager Angus Hay said the Environment Agency tested the water at the park twice a week.
"We are aware of it and we have posters all around the beach.
"Swimmer's Itch lasts for a very short length of time on the person's skin.
"There's not a serious health risk. It's a naturally occurring bacteria in the water which could irritate your skin. When the water reaches a certain temperature, the bacteria becomes active."
Swimmer's Itch, or schistosomiasis, is an infection with a type of parasite which lives in slow-moving water and uses waterfowl as hosts for its reproductive stage. Swimmers become infected if they make contact with the parasite before it has latched on to a suitable bird.