NH DHHS Removes Public Health Advisory for Swimmers at Silver Lake State Park

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) has removed the alert for swimmers at Silver Lake State Park in Hollis, NH, of possible contamination of the lake water with Shigella bacteria. Multiple rounds of testing, of samples by the State Public Health Labs and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta proved inconclusive.


DPHS received reports of five people who became ill with a gastrointestinal illness after swimming at the lake. Four of these people were confirmed to be infected with the Shigella bacteria. All five people were sick in July and have recovered.


“There is no way to determine for sure where these people became infected with the Shigella bacteria,” said Dr. Jose Montero. “Therefore without conclusive test results showing contamination of the lake we are removing the advisory message for swimmers. It is best to show an abundance of caution with situations like this to help ensure people do not become sick.”


It is always a good idea to take precautions when swimming in lakes, rivers, streams, or the ocean to avoid possible contamination including:


Don’t swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.

Don’t swallow the water and avoid getting water in your mouth.

Wash your hands before eating anything.

Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet. Germs on your body end up in the water.

Take children on bathroom breaks or check diapers often. Waiting to hear, "I have to go" from young children may mean that it's too late.

Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not on the beach or at the poolside. Germs can spread in and around the water.

Wash your hands after changing diapers.

Wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the water.

Take a shower or bath after swimming.

For more information about Shigella or other recreational water illnesses, visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov or call the New Hampshire Communicable Disease Control and Surveillance Section at 603-271-4496.