Contaminated well water from a resort near Hebgen Lake (near West Yellowstone, Montana) is being blamed for the stomach and intestinal maladies plaguing more than 80 people, public health officials said Friday. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has confirmed 14 cases of campylobacter illness, a common GI ailment that can cause diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever. At least 70 more cases are probably caused by the same bacteria, the officials said.
"(Campylobacter) is one of the most common, if not the most common, gastrointestinal illnesses in the U.S.," said Matt Kelley, health officer for the Gallatin City-County Health Department. "What was unusual about this one was we were seeing over a dozen, maybe two-dozen cases (last) Thursday and Friday."
Officials think contaminated water from one of two wells at the Campfire Lodge Resort, located outside West Yellowstone, is to blame. The suspect well has been shut off, and the resort’s restaurant has been closed, Kelley said, and a boil water order has been issued.