Home / Norovirus determined as cause of illnesses at Highlands County summer camp

Norovirus determined as cause of illnesses at Highlands County summer camp

Author: Sabrina Lolo/ CBS 12
Published: Updated:
Guests at a summer camp in Lake Placid, Florida, are being examined after more than 30 children and a few adults mysteriously fell sick. CREDIT: Sean Streicher, 10News / WTSP Tampa

Norovirus has been found as the cause of illnesses that sent dozens of children and adults to the hospital last week, the Florida Health Department of Highlands County said.

Thirty-six people were sickened at Camp Cloverleaf last Thursday after swimming in a nearby lake.

Previous story: 33 kids & 3 adults treated, hospitalized for illnesses at 4H camp in Lake Placid

Norovirus is a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness that is easily exchanged from person-to-person, according to FDOH. It can spread rapidly in closed environments, like a summer camp. People can become sick by eating or drinking contaminated food or liquids, touching surfaces or objects that are contaminated by the virus and then placing their hand in their mouth or by direct contact with an infected person.

The most common symptoms are diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1-to-3 days, the FDOH said.

“Our epidemiology team has notified health departments in the home counties of all campers, and appropriate follow-up will be done,” said Mary Kay Burns, a Highlands County Health Officer. “Camp officials have already started the process of disinfecting the camp, and re-inspection will be done once cleaning has been completed. We will also provide information on proper hand-washing and food preparation techniques, to help avoid further incidents.”

There were five children from Palm Beach County who were at the camp during the outbreak, and two of them got sick, according to officials. Further tests are being done on those children.

More water tests were conducted out of caution and have come back negative for any “illness-causing” bacteria.

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This report was originally published on CBS12.