River Dart Country Park to remain closed until Monday

(Last Updated On: August 14, 2014)

The River Dart Country Park in Ashburton will remain closed until Monday after many people have fallen ill with suspected norovirus.

Mark Simpson, Managing Director stated on their website:
“Following discussions with the Environmental Health Agency and Public Health England (PHE), the Management Team and I have jointly taken the decision to close River Dart Country Park until Monday 18th August 2014.”

“This will enable further investigation into the suspected Noro type virus, which was unwittingly brought on to our site, to continue and a deep clean of the whole site be undertaken.

“Our primary concern is naturally for the welfare of our visitors and we have not taken this very difficult decision without serious consideration.

“I fully appreciate that this will cause unforeseen disruption to many holiday and day visitor plans for which I can only apologise.

“We will fully reopen 9.30am Monday 18th August and look forward to welcoming you all at the Park.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.”

Since Friday more than 90 people at the holiday park near Ashburton have reported symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea.

The park first alerted customers that it had received a few reports of sickness on Saturday morning, closing its lakes “as a precaution” while initial tests were carried out.

Around 600 people were sent home and the company apologised for the disruption caused.

South Hams District Council’s Environmental Health Officers have visited the premises on a daily basis and offered advice on deep cleaning and give further recommendations on precautionary measures to help reduce any future risk.

Public Health England (PHE) will be asking those affected to complete a quick questionnaire in order to establish any common links between those affected. This can help identify how the infection started and spread and should be received in the next few days by visitors to the park.

Dr Sarah Harrison, Interim Deputy Director of Health Protection for the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset PHE Centre said:

“Norovirus, which has been confirmed in two of the cases has been causing people to become unwell, and usually leads to mild diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal or stomach cramps that people recover from quickly. There is no specific treatment, but if affected, it is important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

“Norovirus is easily transmitted from one person to another and the virus can survive in the environment. The most effective way to respond to an outbreak is to disinfect contaminated areas, to institute good hygiene measures including hand-washing.

“The temporary closure of the park will allow the staff to perform a deep clean across the site and will help to prevent further cases.”

The River Dart County Park have also kept people updated on their facebook page


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