Durand High School, in Pepin County, is experiencing an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness that affected 32 football players. About 55 high school students are experiencing some symptoms, Doverspike said on Wednesday, and about 50 were absent from school Monday, causing the district to contact local and state health officials.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene have confirmed that the outbreak of gastrointestinal illness occurring in Pepin County, Wisconsin, was caused by Campylobacter. Campylobacter is a bacteria and a common cause of gastrointestinal illness in Wisconsin. Symptoms include diarrhea, which may be bloody, abdominal cramping and fever

To date, Campylobacter has been detected in specimens from 9 ill individuals. Not all of the ill individuals were tested.

The Pepin County Health Department continues to work with the DHS and the Durand School District in efforts to prevent and control infections and to investigate the source of the outbreak.

As a reminder, any person ill with diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever or other gastrointestinal symptoms should remain home from school and follow good hand washing and other hygienic practices to prevent the spread of the bacteria to other people. The DHS has recommended that students and staff may return to school when they have been symptom free for 24 hours. Students or parents of students who are ill are encouraged to consult their local health provider regarding treatment options.

The Durand School District continues to follow the cleaning guidelines recommended by the DHS to ensure all school buildings, buses, and grounds are safe for all parties involved. Students and staff are reminded that good hand washing and hygienic practices are effective in preventing the spread of illness.

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