Norovirus concerns at state park
The state’s public health department ordered the testing of lake and drinking water at the popular park on Lake Pawtuckaway to check for the presence of norovirus after campers developed gastrointestinal symptoms, according to Dr. Jose Montero, state public health director.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus, more commonly seen during the winter months, that can cause stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Approximately 20 people between the two groups, including several children, experienced diarrhea and vomiting, state officials said. A lifeguard who swam in the water earlier in the week also reported feeling ill.
According to Montero, it’s possible for norovirus to be spread in the water through vomit or feces.
While there’s been no confirmation of norovirus in the water, the state Department of Environmental Services decided to post a “preemptive illness” advisory at the park Tuesday notifying swimmers of potential illness, said Sonya Carlson, beach program coordinator with DES. The action was taken “out of an abundance of caution,” she said.
The state performed typical E.coli testing of the lake water this week, but the results showed only low levels of bacteria, Carlson said. Testing also showed no indication of fecal contamination.
“There are risks everywhere. You never know what’s going to be out there. A little bit of precaution can prevent something bad from happening,” she said.
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