Democrat Staff Writer Amanda Dumond reports that state health officials are investigating what caused 60 Boy Scout campers and their leaders to get sick on Monday morning.
Sixty Scouts of 200 attending the camp at the Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation off Blake Hill Road came down with diarrhea and stomach cramps, as did six leaders at the camp. Some of the people also were vomiting, said Dr. Jose Montero, state epidemiologist, but most symptoms were mild.
No one was hospitalized, and most of the afflicted were feeling better by Monday afternoon and were able to participate in camp activities. As of Monday night, no new cases were reported.
Health officials are concentrating their efforts on testing food prepared in the camp kitchen for Sunday’s dinner, and environmental services officials also have taken samples of the water supply. According to Public Information Officer Jim Martin, any water service that is available to more than 25 people is considered a public water supply. Water tests for the camp in May and June came back clean, Martin said.
“I don’t think it is a water quality issue,” he said, “and we’re expecting July’s results soon.”
Officials are not ruling anything out, though they believe the incident was likely a food-borne illness.
Health officials not only took water and food samples but nurses are also picking up questionnaires and stool samples today to test. Test results are expected in a couple of days, Montero said.
Montero said because there are so many variables involved in such cases, officials may not be able to pinpoint the exact cause.
“We almost never can uncover anything specific, but we look at what seems to be the culprit,” he said.
He added there was little food left over from Sunday’s meal. Campers first arrived on Sunday