Health Department: No one should be concerned about water at Valhalla Park

Posted at 8:39 AM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 10:33:04-04

A local woman caused quite a frenzy on social media after making claims that her son contracted bacterial meningitis from Valhalla Park, but the health department was quick to put the public at ease.

"We have no concerns about the swimming or the beach water at Valhalla," Linda Vail said.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says that there are no active cases of bacterial meningitis in the county right now, but the department has seen three this year. Vail says that the illness is spread through direct contact with another person's infected saliva. So, even if the child was sick, it wasn't from the pond.

"Then you see people coming up with, 'well people are coughing and spitting or whatever into the water.' That's not a direct contact with the saliva. It requires very direct contact," Vail said.

FOX 47's Megan Hiler also spoke with people who frequent the park. They said they have never had a problem with the water quality or the water being dirty.

"Its like bath water, but there are fish swimming, various types of fish, so you know that the water is safe because otherwise the fish would look deformed," Ann Grimm said.

Nikki Baker says she has been bringing her dog there for three years and is picky about where she takes him.

"There's not a lot of places that I'll take him. I'm pretty confident taking him here is fine, I mean I get in there with him and this is the no swimming side," she said.

Vail says that people should not think twice about heading to the park for a swim and there is no question about the safety of the water at Valhalla.

"It definitely is a take it with a grain of salt kind of thing. It definitely isn't a reason to get fearful or cause hysteria. We need to make sure we have the facts," Vail said.

After all of the frenzy over the weekend from the woman's original Facebook post, she said her son actually has viral meningitis, which is more common and less serious.

The health department says hospital do not have to report cases of viral meningitis to the county, only bacterial cases.

The health department added that viral meningitis is also spread from direct contact, not through water. They also have a way you can check the results of their water tests, which they do weekly. You can click the link to see those results.