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​Mum Warns Others After Daughter Infected With Parasite From Swimming In Sea

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​Mum Warns Others After Daughter Infected With Parasite From Swimming In Sea

A mum has issued a warning to Brits after her daughter became infected with a parasite from swimming in the sea - and was left hospitalised for two days.

Twelve-year-old Erin Town, from Ilfracombe, became unwell after spending several days swimming at Wildersmouth Beach, where people are not advised to swim due to poor water quality.

She eventually contracted cryptosporidiosis, which is an infection that comes from a parasite called cryptosporidium, and ended up in hospital.

Her mum, Paulina, says that many people had no idea that you couldn't swim at Wildersmouth Beach, explaining that Erin and her friends had been swimming at Wildersmouth pretty much every day for the past two weeks since the weather has been good.

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But on Friday 20 July she started to become 'generally unwell', though the doctor initially put her symptoms down to tonsillitis, which Erin catches a lot.

Erin's condition worsened the following Monday, which was when Paulina was prompted to take her to hospital.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

She said: "Her temperature rocketed to about 40 degrees and she was having bad stomach cramps.

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"Then she started vomiting and just couldn't keep anything down.

"We took her to the doctors on Tuesday and he was worried about her so sent her to the Caroline Thorpe children's ward at North Devon District Hospital.

"At first they thought it was norovirus as this has been doing the rounds recently."

But when Erin's test results came back, they showed that she had a bug called cryptosporidium, which is apparently common in water.

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Paulina continued: "When I told the nurse that she had been swimming at Wildersmouth in Ilfracombe, she pulled a bit of a face and said several people had been ill after swimming there.

"She said she wouldn't even take her dog in the water there."

Erin had to stay overnight in hospital before being discharged the next day, but was readmitted on Thursday for another night after becoming ill again and in need of a drip.

Paulina feels that, while there are signs at Wildersmouth Beach advising people not to swim in the waters, many people still are unaware of the dangers.

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She said: "We've lived in Ilfracombe for 12 years now and I never knew that you weren't supposed to swim at that beach. I had no idea the water was that bad.

"If we'd known I never would have let Erin go swimming there."

She added: "The signs should be made bigger and more obvious.

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"When I posted something to Facebook about this, most of the comments were from people who also didn't realise you weren't supposed to swim there - so it can't be that obvious.

"Erin certainly won't be going back in there again and I think it's important to let as many people as possible know about it.

"I would hate for anyone else to go through this, it has been petrifying."

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

Katy Nicholls, public protection manager for North Devon Council, said: "North Devon Council does not have any record of being notified about this incident by the child's mother, nor have we received formal notification from any health body confirming a diagnosis of Cryptosporidium.

"We currently consider this to be an isolated incident, and in light of Wildersmouth Beach being an undesignated bathing beach we do not intend to take any further action.

"In the event that we should we receive any further reports of this kind we may look to liaise with other appropriate bodies, such as the Environment Agency.

"The criteria for information on bathing water signage is agreed by Defra and the Environment Agency.

"Our thoughts go out to the child affected by this condition, and we wish her a speedy recovery."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Weather, UK News, News, swimming, illness

Jess Hardiman
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