“Unusual’ virus in Grand Canyon infects Campers and Rafters.
“Unusual’ virus in Grand Canyon
For over 150 Grand Canyon visitors, a trip into the wilderness has resulted in norovirus. Often spread via contaminated water or contact with an infected person, the virus has left many rafters and campers with symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The biggest spike in infections so far occurred during April and May, and control measures implemented in early June seem to be helping lower reported cases.
To prevent further cases, the National Park Service (NPS) released a report on the outbreak and precautions visitors can take. The report’s suggested practices to avoid norovirus include refraining from shared food and drink, regularly washing your hands, and only drinking filtered and chemically disinfected water.
On rafts and in camps, norovirus can spread quickly. The best way to prevent norovirus is to practice proper hand washing and general cleanliness and ensure the safety of your drinking water,” NPS explained in its report.
Safe access points for water at the park include park-provided water fountains and spigots. It’s also important for visitors participating in water-based activities such as rafting to avoid consuming nearby water.
The Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association (GCROA) is collaborating with the CDC to further investigate the outbreak. As GCROA executive director John Dillon said,
“it’s very unusual for us to experience something like this in the backcountry.”
Originally reported by USA Today