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Changes made at Zumbrota campground as outbreak investigation continues

As the investigation continues into an outbreak of a  waterborne illness this summer at a Zumbrota campground, state health officials have been working with the business owner to reduce the risk of illness.

Minnesota Department of Health announced Friday, Aug. 9, the owner of Shades of Sherwood Campground has taken the following recommended steps:

  • The swimming pool was temporarily closed and hyper-chlorinated to kill any existing Cryptosporidium. The pool has since reopened.
  • The campground posted signs at the pool warning visitors to not swim for two weeks if they have been ill with diarrhea.
  • The campground closed the man-made water pond — referred to as a water park —to swimming. The pond is constructed in such a way that it cannot be effectively treated to remove Cryptosporidium or other pathogens.

Investigators identified 72 people with symptoms consistent with Cryptosporidium and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) as of Thursday, MDH said. Symptoms include diarrhea or vomiting for at least three days.

PREVIOUSLY: Diarrhoeal disease outbreak ID'd at Zumbrota campground

The first case became ill July 1 and the most recent on Aug. 3, according to a news release.

“Clearly there was contamination associated with this site and transmission has been occurring for some time,” MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann said. “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.”

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There were 51 reported recreational water illness outbreaks in Minnesota from 2008-2017, resulting in 667 known illnesses. Half of the outbreaks were caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, which can be introduced into water by infected people or animals. It is resistant to chlorine and can survive and spread even in a properly maintained pool or splash pad. Health officials recommend that people with symptoms of Cryptosporidium infection avoid swimming while ill and for at least two weeks after symptoms have cleared.