Likely norovirus outbreak gives Camp Mather runs 

An outbreak of gastrointestinal distress in the Sierra Nevada has hit Camp Mather, according to San Francisco Recreation and Park Department officials, who operate the park.

Although the campground near Yosemite remains open to visitors, an extensive cleaning is under way after three campers and two employees reported symptoms such as sudden vomiting, nausea and diarrhea from July 1 to July 8. Six other cases were reported the prior week.

The affected visitors included a 2-year-old child who suffered from a high fever and department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. Both suffered symptoms for a day.

An estimated 500 campers visited Camp Mather during the outbreaks. Additional hand-washing stations were brought to the camp to promote hygiene.

Tuolumne County health officials said those numbers suggest a spike in outbreaks because typically only one or two a week occur in June.

The Tuolumne County Public Health Department took samples from campers near where the park is located. Test results were not immediately available, but norovirus is suspected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus is generally spread through water or when touching surfaces contaminated by the virus. It’s found in vomit or fecal matter of infected people.

It’s generally prevented through the washing of hands, proper food preparation and cleaning of infected surfaces. The CDC said most people with the virus recover within two days. More-serious cases, however, can lead to death.

It’s common at sea and on land. Last month, an outbreak was reported aboard the Princess Cruises ship Sea Princess during a 10-day Alaskan cruise that left from The City.

An outbreak of norovirus also was found at Berkeley’s Tuolumne Camp a few miles from Camp Mather. That camp was closed last weekend for an extensive cleaning.


What is norovirus?

  • Highly contagious
  • Causes acute gastroenteritis, which is inflammation of stomach and intestines
  • Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain
  • Typically lasts one or two days, but can be fatal
  • Spread through touching surfaces contaminated by those infected; eating food contaminated by virus; or having direct contact with person with virus

Source: CDC

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