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City of Austin Warns Swimmers to Stay out of Bull Creek

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Even though bacteria warning signs lined the water, Austinites were not dissuaded from swimming in Bull Creek on Monday.

The City of Austin issued a statement that the bacteria called “shigella” is also having a swim in the popular summer spot. Shigella is similar to salmonella and can infect the body for up to a week. Symptoms take one to three days to show up, and people will experience stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Swallowing the water can result in infection. Those who do ingest the bacteria shouldn’t take antidiarrheal medicine but rather wait it out and let it run its course.

Pediatric hospitalist Dr. Shimona Thakrar recommends staying hydrated most of all. This is something to pay close attention to with children who have a harder time staying hydrated. She says an antibiotic is normally not needed, but if the case is particularly severe, it might warrant it.

Dr. Thakrar told KXAN that, “We don’t see a lot of shigella or salmonella unless there’s an outbreak in certain areas. Now we’ve had three cases. It’s not technically an outbreak but in order to avoid that, we need to take the proper precautions.”

This bacteria is much more common in developing countries than the United States. Yet, KXAN reported, “Last year, a total of 440 shigellosis cases were reported in Travis County.” It’s certainly something to look out for during your Bull Creek summer swimming days!