Parasite Kills 80 Ducklings at Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service will be draining and cleaning the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool this weekend after a waterborne parasite killed 80 ducklings.

The park service said in a release Friday the first dead ducklings were found around May 20. The deaths were caused by a parasite that grows in snails that also inhabit the pool, according to necropsies of the ducklings conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center.

The pool will be drained June 11, with cleaning and treatment slated for next week. The park service aims to refill the pool by June 16 and will continue to monitor water quality.

Chemical treatments are not enough to completely eradicate the parasite, the park service said.

The parasite can cause an allergic reaction in humans called “swimmer’s itch” in humans, which is not contagious and rarely requires medical treatment. But the risk of anybody contracting it from the reflecting pool is low because it is only contracted through sustained contact, such as swimming or wading, the park service said.

Across the National Mall, grounds crews last month installed special ramps to help ducklings and other water fowl safely exit and enter the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

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