Health Department Recommends Strafford Pond Reopen for Swimming

For Immediate Release: August 27, 2008
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health

BURLINGTON - The Vermont Department of Health recommended today that Strafford pond be reopened after laboratory test results failed to confirm leptospirosis as the cause of illness reported by several people who swam in the town pond.

State health officials closed the town pond as a precaution, issued a health alert to health care providers in the area, and participated in a town meeting in Strafford on Aug. 14, after several people reported symptoms consistent with leptospirosis.

Blood samples from affected patients sent to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention for confirmatory testing were found to be negative for leptospirosis, a bacterial illness that can result from contact with water that is contaminated with the organism.

Heavy rains this summer increased the risk of contaminants washing into the pond, and health officials suspected exposure to the water may have been the source of the illnesses.

“At this time there is no explanation for the outbreak of illness, although there are several viruses that can cause symptoms similar to those reported by the people who were sick,” said State Epidemiologist Cort Lohff, MD.

For more information, visit the Vermont Department of Health website at


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