Traces of the norovirus stomach bug, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, have been detected by investigators looking into why dozens of children fell ill shortly after visiting the Twinlakes theme park this week.
Public Health England (PHE) East Midlands this afternoon (Thursday) revealed the initial results of their probe, which led to the temporary closure of the venue’s Au Guang Dragon Zone Water Park.
Officials working alongside representatives of the Health and Safety Executive and Melton Borough Council took environmental samples from the park and stool samples from those who reported symptoms.
A PHE spokesperson, who said the incident illustrated how quickly infections can spread in environments like swimming pools and water parks, said: “Initial results have proved positive for norovirus and further test resuts are awaited.
“The water play area will remain closed until it has been throughly cleaned and the company has complied with the requirements of HSE’s prohibition notice.”
Dr Lauren Ahyow, consultant in communicable disease control, said: “Norovirus is an unpleasant illness but most people usually make a complete recovery without any specific treatment other than rest and drinking lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.
“There is no specific treatment for diarrhoea and vomiting so the public can help limit the spread of infection by staying away from their GP practice or hospital if they are feeling unwell.
“If diarrhoea and vomiting does become very severe and persistent however, then we advise people to telephone NHS 111 or their GP.”
Anyone visiting a swimming pool over the summer season, if they have diarrhoea and vomiting, are advised not to use swimming pools whilst symptomatic, or for 48 hours after symptoms have completely ceased.
Experts say it is very important to follow the 48-hour exclusion advice, even if sufferers feel better after a short period of time.
Personal hygiene, with thorough handwashing with soap and water before eating and after going to the toilet, is very important in reducing the spread of infection.
Melton mum Cara North told the Melton Times her daughters - four-year-old Effie-rose and Lilli-mai (9) - had this week had been violently ill when they returned home from the park.
She said: “I took my daughters to Twinlakes and on Wednesday and Thursday they both became unwell with projectile vomiting and diarrhoea.
“They are better now, but I’ve never seen anything like it - they’ve never been so ill.
“I had two other friends I went with and all their children were severely ill aswell.”
Twinlakes released a statement earlier in the week which reads: “We regret that the Au Guang Dragon Zone Water Park is temporarily closed.
“We apologise for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause.
“As soon as we heard reports that some visitors have become ill following their visit to the water park, we took the decision to close it as a precautionary measure.”