The additional confirmed cases brings the total to 38 since the parasitic infection was first discovered at the beginning of Feb. 2013. To date, the Giardia infection has not caused anyone to go to the hospital.
According to Dr. Jessica Hopkins, associate regional medical officer of health, the ages of people infected — which can cause stomach cramps, exhaustion, diarrhea, and dehydration — range from 10-months to 44-years-old.
The parasite is transported in stool and probably got into the Beacon Habourside Hotel pool when an animal or human defecated in the pool. Anyone who ingested the water would have become infected.
It is believed, according to the public health department that the original infection took place in September.
The swimming pool was open to hotel guests and children taking swimming lessons. The pool has been closed until the health department and hotel can ensure the area is free of the parasite.
Hopkins said that even though the swimming pool was chlorinated, the Giardia parasite is hard to kill, because it forms cysts that shield it from external threats such as chlorine until it is transferred to the human gut.
Hopkins said it can take about 7 – 10 days for the symptoms to occur, the total number of Giardia infection cases are not known. The majority of people who have the symptoms usually don’t go to the doctor right away because they think the symptoms will pass. However, the health department is getting in touch with anyone who might have been exposed from Sept 16 – Jan 8 so they can be tested.