ZUMBROTA, Minn. – Investigators now say at least 72 people were sickened by a waterborne illness outbreak at a Goodhue County campground.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says the people were infected by Cryptosporidium and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) at the Shades of Sherwood Campground. The first illness happened on July 1 and the most recent sickness took place on August 3.
“Clearly there was contamination associated with this site and transmission has been occurring for some time,” said MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann. “We cannot say for certain what the original source of contamination may have been, but we have evidence that ill people were swimming in the facility’s various water features while still shedding the pathogens and reintroducing them into the features over time. That is why it is so important for people to not swim anywhere while they have diarrhea or for two weeks after symptoms of infection with cryptosporidiosis or STEC have stopped.”
The Department of Health says they are working with the owner of the campground and he has taken several safety steps on the recommendation of health officials:
– The campground swimming pool was temporarily closed and hyper-chlorinated to kill any existing Cryptosporidium.
– Signs were posted at the pool warning visitors not to swim if they’ve been ill with diarrhea in the past two weeks.
– The campground closed a man-made pond, referred to as a “water park,” to swimming. Officials say the pond cannot be effectively treated for pathogens.
People infected with Cryptosporidium or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli can experience diarrhea or vomiting for at least three days.
The Department of Health says Minnesota had 51 reported outbreaks at recreational water facilities between 2008 and 2017, resulting in 667 people getting sick.