People sick from drinking from water fountains from Disney Parks

Has anyone heard about this. A friend of a friend just called. She and her son just returned from a band/Disney trip. They all came down with gastrointestinal “worms.” They have been in contact with Disney officials. They were refilling water bottles in fountains. This is all that I know. Apparently this person is not someone who would make something up or embellish a story. Anyone heard about this? Drink bottled water!!!

I’m not a doctor, but I believe gastrointestinal parasites take weeks to develop in humans and are highly unlikely to come from water fountains. Perhaps there is a Liner MD who can give us info, better than my memory.

I have frequently used WDW water fountains and have never had any adverse effects. I’m sure that the WDW water is sampled/inspected probably more than your own tap water, and something like this would have been caught. And there is virtually no mechanism to contract intestinal parasites from drinking water…

Aaa maybe there will be more information forthcoming. They were taken by ambulance to a hospital in Pittsburgh upon landing at the airport.

Keep us updated with the details as you find out. I am a nurse practitioner and my husband is a pathologist. It seems unlikely to get worms from a water fountain in a developed country although I guess it is possible if the fountain had been contaminated by a sick individual first. There is a parasite called Cryptosporidium that is highly contagious that you can get from swimming in pools (even chlorine can’t kill it very well) or drinking from something that someone has touched who is sick with it. I’m interested to see what the parasite is.

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I drank from lots of water fountains on my WDW trip, didn’t hassle with water bottle. I agree with others that this seems odd, so I’m interested in how this turns out.

Just a reminder that CS restaurants in WDW will give out free cups of ice water. No need to drink from the water fountains.

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Sorry to hear about that. Sounds horrible! I have a Brita squeeze bottle that we bring to the kingdom. I hook it to my belt loop with a caribeaner (sp?) and it works wonderfully!

I would like to think it adds an additional layer of protection but what do I know.

This is very bizarre, and, frankly, not plausible.
Intestinal worms (helminths) are extremely rare in the US, although there are some hookworms and ascaris worms around in the southeast. As others have said, it takes weeks (average 35+ days) from the time of infestation until any symptoms related to worms (and many people never get symptoms besides developing anemia). Soil is usually the source of contamination.
Water at Disney would be part of a properly treated supply (like any public water supply) and require regular testing and quality control; although smelly because of a bit of sulphur in the local water supply, there’s no reason to think it is contaminated as a result. I wonder if your friend assumes it was Disney water because of the bad smell/taste.
So, it’s possible they got something that isn’t a parasitic intestinal worm, OR it’s possible that they got an intestinal worm from another source (e.g. undercooked pork, contaminated soil, the family cat) a few weeks ago.
This is a heartwarming (not) summary of the common parasites to beware of in the US:


(And for the medical references from the CDC, see https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/sth/ ).

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Update that I received from my friend was that all 5 were released from the hospital. Only one person had to stay for a week. They were treated with antibiotics plus “another medication” and were told they did have -parasites. Not to be too graphic but apparently they could be seen.
They went home on antibiotics and were told to take an herbal parasitic cleanse.
I agree this doesn’t sound 100%. But they were in the UPMC and that is a top notch medical facility. Not a neighborhood hospital.

I’m not disputing that they had parasites - just that the timeline doesn’t work for it to have been immediately following a trip. Takes weeks or longer for parasites to become visible to the naked eye. Just the way their life cycle works.

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