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Woman blames infection on contaminated waters

April 8, 2006

BY LOREN MORENO, Advertiser Staff Writer

A woman who said she contracted four different bacterial infections while surfing off a Waikïkï beach is hospitalized at The Queen’s Medical Center.

Lisa Kennedy, a 40-year-old Waikïkï resident, said in a message to The Advertiser that she went surfing March 28 off the Hilton Hawaiian Village adjacent to the Ala Wai Canal.

She said she was injured on a reef, and she attributes her infection to being exposed to sewage-contaminated waters.

She subsequently sought medical attention and was treated and released on an unspecified date, said her attorney, Rick Fried. She was hospitalized at Queen’s on Monday and has been fighting an infection since, Fried said.

State Health Department officials said that water contamination warning signs were not posted where Kennedy was likely surfing – at Kahanamoku beach, in front of the Hilton, or at Fort DeRussy, near the Hale Koa Hotel.

Dr. Sarah Park, deputy chief of the department’s Disease Outbreak Control Division, said Kennedy’s case has not been reported to the state, most likely because it is not a reportable case of infectious disease.

“It may not be reportable according to the criteria: her organisms may not be reportable organism,” Park said. “The only thing about the (Oliver Johnson case) that made it reportable was the fact that he had Vibrio vulnificus as one of his organisms, which is a routinely reportable disease.”

Park said she could not comment further since the state has not received an official report from Kennedy’s physicians.