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Court Certifies Class Action Against State of New York Arising From Recreational Water Illnesses Suffered At Water Park: Class Action Defense Cases

The State of New York must mount a class action defense to a lawsuit seeking damages for illnesses caused by contaminated water at a water park run by New York’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation. New York’s Seneca Lake Park’s Sprayground was closed in August 2005 after tests revealed that its water tanks were contaminated with cryptosporidiosis, one of many types of recreational water illnesses. The tests were run after the Health Department received more than 100 complaints from people who fell ill after visiting the water park. A lawsuit filed in response to the incident received court approval this week to proceed as a class action.

NOTE: In broad terms, recreational water illnesses – caused by germs such as cryptosporidiosis, E. coli and giardia – are contracted through contact with contaminated water. The National Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that incidents of such illnesses have been steadily on the rise, and estimates that roughly 19,000 people suffered from such illnesses between 1984 and 2002. While diarrhea is the most common recreational water illness symptom, the responsible germs can also cause ear and eye infections, skin infections and respiratory problems. While cryptosporidiosis is highly contagious, the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that healthy people generally recover without the necessity of medical treatment. No deaths have been attributed to the Sprayground outbreak.