Tabernash " Norovirus now suspected in 103 cases linked to YMCA camp outbreak
June 25, 2008
The latest tally of those sick from a suspected norovirus outbreak at Camp Chief Ouray is 103 people.
Although the virus still has not been confirmed as being norovirus, dubbed the “Cruise Ship Virus” due to its rapid spread among people staying in tight quarters, the virus “follows the pattern,” said Grand County Public Health Director Brene Belew-LaDue in a brief update to Grand County commissioners on Tuesday.
The camp, located at Snow Mountain Ranch-YMCA of the Rockies, has been closed to campers since June 18 and staff has been working to thoroughly clean the facility. To illustrate how fast the virus spread, Tuesday night on June 17, 25 people were sick and by Wednesday morning, that number had nearly tripled.
The Colorado Department of Health and Environment is scheduled to inspect the camp on Thursday, and if the camp passes inspection, it may re-open on Sunday, June 29, according to Belew-LaDue.
Grand County Public Health plans to monitor the situation this week and next week to watch for gastrointestinal illness.
The camp responded to the illness by closing four days into the outbreak, at which time campers were sent home from Wednesday through Saturday.
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During a similar outbreak in 2005 at the same camp, camp officials did not close camp for two weeks.
“They learned lessons from that,” LaDue said.
“Camp Chief Ouray has been cooperative in all their efforts,” she told commissioners.
According to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, noroviruses are highly concentrated in the stool and vomit of infected people. The virus can spread by inadequate handwashing and, during outbreaks, transmit from person-to-person by way of airborne particles or objects such as dishes or articles of clothing contaminated with infectious organisms.
The illness, often referred to as the stomach flu, causes nausea, abdominal cramps, chills, headaches vomiting, and/or diarrhea and can last from 12 to 60 hours.
Onset of symptoms is sudden. Vomiting is more prevalent among children, whereas, adults usually experience diarrhea.
Severe dehydration, although rare, can be fatal, especially among older persons with debilitating health conditions.
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