December 20, 2014

Norovirus Outbreak at Lake Wazee in Wisconsin

According to the Jackson County Health Department in Wisconsin, the beaches at Lake Wazee have been closed because of an outbreak of norovirus. At least 200 people have been sickened. The outbreak was discovered last week after many people who visited the lake experienced the symptoms of Norovirus.

According to a press release, food poisoning was suspected at first, but after public health officials began investigating, the lake water emerged as the suspected source. Testing has not revealed norovirus, but officials say that markers for feces, one of the sources of the virus, have been found at the beach.

Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, and body aches. The symptoms appear quickly, within a few hours after exposure, and patients usually get better within a few days. But some people can become seriously ill with dehydration and require hospitalization. Because it is a virus, antibiotics are not used to treat this infection.

Samples from patients are being tested at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. When test results are released, we’ll let you know. The lake will remain closed through the weekend. Officials will re-test the water on Monday, July 16 and will reopen the beach if it is safe.

If anyone wants to scuba dive or fish away from the beaches, that is permitted, but the Health Department asks that you thoroughly wash your hands after those activities, and clean and sanitize all equipment. For more information, contact the Health Department.

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