A new virus could be popping up around Iowa splash pads and parents, it's one you need to watch out for.

Splash pads can be a fun place to take the littles during the summer. It cools them off and keeps them entertained, even if only for a hot second. But any time a group of kids gets together, they can catch illnesses from each other.


The Hill reports that a family in Johnston had a kid get sick from a thing called 'astrovirus' just a few days after going to the city's splash pad. Even though the sickness hasn't been confirmed to be from the water at the splash pad, the parents in the family knew other people that got the same sickness a day or two after also playing at the splash pad.

What Is Astrovirus?

Astrovirus is a fecal virus (which makes sense in the context of a splash pad considering how much kids squat there) that spreads via contact with stool. Gross.  The National Institute of Public Health says symptoms of astrovirus kind of run the sickness gamut and include: diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, anxiety, headache, malaise, belly aches, and fever.

Fever and vomiting is what the Des Moines mom, Megan Reynolds, noticed her son was doing after visiting the Johnston splash pad that led to the astrovirus diagnosis. She figured out her son wasn't the only case, saying:

I realized talking to one of my girlfriends, she had the same symptoms and she didn’t know what was wrong with her. And then we realized she was at the splash pad one day before us, so we connected the dots and called the city of Johnston.

As for the splash pad, Johnston shut it down for a few hours and cleaned it. It's not confirmed that the virus came from the splash pad. John Schmitz, Johnston’s Parks and Recreation director, said that the splash pad uses single-use water but the city's water is being tested for the virus just in case.

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