June 17, 2024

Outbreak at Rifle Rodeo in Garfield County, Colorado

Garfield County Public Health is investigating a possible illness outbreak among attendees at the Rifle Rodeo in Colorado. The county’s Public Health Agency is investigating gastrointestinal illnesses among “several dozen” people who got sick after going to that event.

Woman Stomach Ache

The department began receiving calls on June 6, 2017 from people who had been experiencing nausea, cramping, and diarrhea. The Rifle Rodeo was a private event held at the Garfield County Fairgrounds on June 5, 2017. About 200 people were at the rodeo.

Billy Harkins, Environmental Health Specialist with the Garfield County Consumer Protection Program said, “It appears that people became ill approximately six hours following the end of the rodeo event Monday night. We are still investigating the cause of the outbreak, and are taking all possible factors into consideration. The total number of individuals who became ill and the duration of their illness has not been confirmed.” The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is partnering with Garfield County officials to investigate this outbreak.

An update posted on June 9, 2017 states that “due to the short onset and short duration of the illnesses reported to Public Health staff following a privately organized event at the fairgrounds, it has been determined the reported illnesses did NOT develop from a waterborne issue, an airborne issue, e-coli, salmonella, Hepatitis A, or anything transferred person to person.” Samples have been collected and are being sent to the state laboratory for testing.

Because symptoms occurred quickly, these illnesses could have been caused by Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, or Clostridium perfringens. Those pathogens cause the symptoms experienced by people in this outbreak within a few hours of exposure. If the illness was not transferred person-to-person, that could also rule out norovirus.

Public Health is asking that anyone who attended the event call them at 970-625-5200 ext. 8128, even if they did not get sick. It’s important that public health officials hear from as many people as possible to try to narrow down the potential cause of these illnesses. Your call will be returned by a Public Health representative and you may be asked questions about your visit and your illness to help track down the outbreak’s source.

Pritzker Hageman law firm helps people sickened by contaminated food get answers, compensation and justice. Our attorneys have represented patients and families of children in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against food manufacturers, fairgrounds, restaurants, retailers, schools, and others. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team of lawyers recently won a $7.5 million judgment on behalf of a young client whose kidneys failed because he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome after he contracted an E. coli infection.

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