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UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Fraser Health has closed all pools at Harrison Hot Springs until further notice, following two reports of people getting rashes.

In an email to Black Press Media, a Fraser Health spokesperson said staff received a report in January and one earlier this month about people getting a rash after using the five mineral pools at the resort.

“The complainants described a rash that would be consistent with symptoms related to pseudomonas aeruginosa, a multi-drug resistant bacteria,” the statement said.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a relatively common bacteria often found in water. Although it can cause serious infections and illness in people with compromised immune systems, healthy individuals will likely get more generalized skin rashes. Ear infections from the bacteria are also possible, although common in children.

Fraser Health’s environmental health officers did a follow-up inspection and closed the pools, the health authority added. Water samples have been sent to the BC Centre for Disease Control for testing.

“The closure order will remain in place until we feel it’s safe.”

It was not immediately clear how many people have reported getting such a rash or how the pool water may have become contaminated.

According to the resort’s sales and marketing manager Eric Towne, results from the test could be in as early as Sunday.

“Hopefully we’ll see a negative, so that we can reopen them,” he said.

On Saturday, the pools were being drained, cleaned and refilled, according to a Black Press Media reader. Towne said this was done as a precautionary measure.

“Some of the pools have been drained, and we’ve been cleaning them to the specifications as required just to be on the safe side,” he said, “so that when we do reopen they’re all set and ready to go.”

A statement on the resort’s website says the pools are closed until Monday and apologizes for the inconvenience. Guests were offered free use of the community’s public pool, located nearby.

Yellow caution tape has been hung up around the pools, with signs posted about the closure.

Dozens of guests were trying to rearrange their stay. Many cancelled or left early.

“Obviously (by the time the pools were closed), there were a lot of guests were already on their way to the resort, so we couldn’t get in touch with them,” Towne said. He said the resort has been “actively trying to contact all of the guests coming in … to advise them of the pool closure.”

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Laura Baziuk

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Laura Baziuk

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