Schlitterbahn is safe: that’s what the popular Texas water park is insisting after a visitor claimed, via social media, that her children developed severe infections after visiting the Galveston park, KHOU (Houston) is reporting.
In a Facebook post that has since been deleted — in fact, her entire account seems to have been deleted — a Facebook user using the name “Ashley Drake Salas” complained that she and her family went to Schlitterbahn, and some time later two of her kids developed skin infections. She also claimed to have spoken to doctors at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), who allegedly confirmed that the kids had a staph infection.
“We made the mistake of going to Schlitterbahn in Galveston this past week and now my children look like this. They have a very serious strep/staph infection in the water, and two of my kids have it.”
— Sal Guerrero (@SalDGuerrero) June 29, 2016
Before being taken down, the woman’s complaint had been shared over 88,000 times. Some respondents swore to never visit the waterpark again. By Wednesday morning, rumors had begun circulating on social media that Schlitterbahn is closed; it is not.
So pervasive were the rumors about the purported infection and purported closing of the park that the company took to Facebook to set the record straight. First, the water park confirmed that is, in fact, still open, despite the social media rumors. Second, the park said that they had spoken with UTMB and the Galveston County Health District Epidemiology Services about the purported infections; both agencies denied reports of any infections supposedly picked up at Schlitterbahn. Third, the park said that it had been in contact with the family who made the complaint.
“To be clear, at Schlitterbahn we take water safety very seriously. We treat our water with chlorine and run tests on it throughout the day. Thousands of guests have visited us this summer and our employees are in the water every day.”
Across the United States, five water parks operate under the name Schlitterbahn (“Schlitterbahn” means “slippery road” in German); the company’s original water park in New Braunfels, Texas; parks in South Padre Island, Corpus Christi, and Galveston, Texas; and a fifth park in Kansas City, Kansas.
— KPRC 2 Houston (@KPRC2) June 29, 2016
Interestingly, this is not the first time this summer that a social media user has claimed to have picked up an infection at a water park. Earlier this month, a Facebook user using the name Sue Borders claimed that “her sister’s friend’s children” had picked up an “algae infection” at Fugitive Beach, a former quarry turned into a small water park in Rolla, Missouri.
Fugitive Beach owner Mark Kearse took to Facebook to vehemently deny the woman’s claims, even going so far as to post the results of the water testing by a third party a few days later.
“We test the water every two weeks, pump in 70,000 gallons of fresh water a day, have a small spring feed, rain water, We shock the water every 30 days with chlorine, and the lime stone controls the environment required for the growth of bacteria and certain viruses.”
Do you believe that water parks such as Schlitterbahn are safe?
[Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images]