We know the summer is waning and opportunities to splash around in our area bodies of water are becoming more and more scarce, and not only because of the passage of time.  A few weeks ago, we heard the awful news about the infected waters near the coast and how innocent Texans and eventually people across the gulf south were being infected with a flesh eating virus.

Sadly, a similar scenario is affecting leisure activities much closer to home.

Seal of the city of Austin

The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department has recently received three reports of shigellosis, an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Shigellosis is an illness that can last from four to seven days and causes diarrhea. Fever and stomach cramps may also be present. This illness is caused by swallowing the bacteria, and a person exposed to Shigella may develop the illness in one to three days after being exposed. People who have symptoms should contact a physician.

The City of Austin is asking people not to swim at Bull Creek District Park due to high levels of bacteria being detected. Swimming and contact with the water are not recommended. Three people confirmed to have contracted the illness shigellosis all reported swimming at Bull Creek District Park one-to-two days before onset of illness.

Bull Creek is located along parts of Spicewood Springs Road and Highway 360 and flows into Lake Austin. Recent monitoring of Bull Creek has identified high levels of fecal coliforms. Therefore, the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, Parks and Recreation Department and Watershed Protection Department are advising people to avoid swimming in Bull Creek.

When I was a kid, I used to complain about all the chlorine in the pool water stinging my eyes and making me smell like chemicals. Seems minor in comparison to major sickness. Be careful out there.