Aug 21, 2006

Wyoming Bible Camp Investigates Water Supply After Illness Reports

Laboratory tests by the Wyoming Department of Health have confirmed that a gastroenteritis outbreak at a bible camp can be attributed to Campylobacter jejuni (campy) and norovirus infections among attendees and fecal contamination of the facility’s water supply.

“This is an extremely complicated outbreak given the number of people involved and the fact that multiple infections have been identified in case patients,” says Kelly Weidenbach, surveillance epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program.

Since mid-June more than 300 people attended programs at Camp Grace, which is located in northeast Albany County near Wheatland. Out of the 175 individuals interviewed as of July 31, more than 88 have reported gastrointestinal illness after attending the camp. The department has also identified nearly 20 individuals who did not attend the camp, but developed gastrointestinal illness from a family member who did attend camp.

WDH is conducting a thorough environmental health assessment of the camp and its water and wastewater systems with help from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture Consumer Health Services. Public health officials from WDH and engineers from DEQ visited the camp and found multiple problems with the water and wastewater systems. The identification of these problems coincides with water samples that tested positive for fecal contamination.