Local mother says son’s infection came about from visit to popular waterpark

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WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A Plainwell mother claims her son developed a painful skin infection after visiting a popular indoor waterpark.

Alexis McCalla says her son caught a bacterial infection during a visit to Surfari Joe’s in Watervliet. She says it was supposed to be a fun birthday celebration, but it turned into a cautionary tale.

McCalla had high hopes for her family’s trip to Surfari Joe’s.

“We decided to get together with family from out of town,” said McCalla. “They came up from Tennessee and we found that waterpark and it looked great from the pictures that we saw, but now we’re regretting it.”

McCalla, a mother of two, says her son returned home with a suspicious rash.

“He took a shower and then called me into the bathroom because he was complaining that he was hurting,” said McCalla, “and as soon as I walked into the bathroom, I just saw the rash all over his body.”

McCalla says red, puss-filled blisters had broken out all over the first grader’s arms, legs, buttocks, and chest.

“It was really hurting,” said Brennen McCalla, who developed the infection, “it was all red.”

McCella says doctors explained that her seven-year-old suffered a chemical burn that developed into a pool-linked bacterial infection.

“It was really scary,” said Alexis McCalla, “because I had no idea what it was, and it looked so bad, and it could have been a number of things, so my mind was going a hundred miles a minute.”

McCella shared the incident in a Facebook post that quickly went viral, prompting dozens of others to share their concerns and describing similar illnesses they say occurred after visiting the waterpark.

Surfari Joe’s told Newschannel 3 on Wednesday that chemical saturations in the waterpark are within the proper guidelines and that people have different sensitivities so sometimes people have reactions. Surfari Joe’s says that their testing processes are in accordance with state, health department, laws and resources.

While Brennen is slowly recovering, McCalla is still not satisfied.

“There should be some kind of process set up to make sure the water is safe before having toddlers or young children get in the water,” said McCalla.

Brennen is being treated for the rash and McCalla has contacted the health department to report the incident. Her Facebook post about this has been shared more than a thousand times.

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