Health Risk Leads To Permanent Lake Closure

By  //  May 24, 2012

Dangerous To Swimmers

The city of Palm Bay has permanently closed the lake and pond at Veterans Memorial Park on Port Malabar Boulevard for swimming because of health risks. (Image by Ed Pierce)
Signs have been posted near the lake at Veterans Memorial Park in Palm Bay warning of deadly health risks to swimmers there. (Image by Ed Pierce)

BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – The lake and pond at Veterans Memorial Park on Port Malabar Road in Palm Bay has been permanently closed to swimming because of a continued risk of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis for swimmers.

Swimming at the lake had been temporarily suspended since last August, however the decision was made for permanent closure due to the ongoing risk the warm water pond presents to swimmers.

Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis is caused by the Nagleria amoeba entering the body through the nose and ultimately destroying brain tissue.

The amoeba thrives in untreated warm water ponds and lakes such as the one located at Veterans Memorial Park.

“Simply stated, it is not worth the risk to swim in a warm water pond such as Vets Park pond,” said Palm Bay City Manager Sue Hann.

City staff will remove all lifeguard towers and the swimming rope in the lake.

Signs will be posted stating no swimming is allowed in the lake.

The amoeba thrives in the upper layer of sediment in the bottom of lakes and ponds with mud floors.

The Brevard County Health Department advises symptoms of infection include headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance and bodily control, seizures and hallucinations.

Prevention is key to averting tragedy and the public is advised to avoid warm water ponds, lakes, rivers and non-chlorinated swimming pools.

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