Norovirus Caused Florida Lake Placid Summer Camp 'Mass Casualty Incident'

The cause of a mysterious mass casualty incident at a Florida summer camp last week was identified Monday as norovirus, WPEC-TV reported. Lab tests reportedly confirmed the virus sickened three adults and 33 kids at the Cloverleaf 4H Camp in Lake Placid.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and stomach pain and in some instances, fever, headache and body aches. The virus can be easily transferred from person to person, or by touching surfaces or eating foods previously contaminated with norovirus. Most outbreaks of the virus are transmitted from person to person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At Camp Cloverleaf, located on the banks of Lake Francis in Highlands County, the norovirus caused nausea and vomiting, and at least 35 people were transported to nearby hospitals. Health officials said the camp was in the process of being disinfected and that water tests for the bacteria came back negative.

"Our epidemiology team has notified health departments in the home counties of all campers, and appropriate follow-up will be done," said Highlands County Health Officer Mary Kay Burns, according to WPEC-TV. "Camp officials have already started the process of disinfecting the camp and re-inspection will be done once cleaning has been completed. We will also provide information on proper hand washing and food preparation techniques to help avoid further incidents."

Large norovirus outbreaks are not wholly uncommon. In May, a Massachusetts elementary school was closed after more than 100 students and adults were sickened by what appeared to be the virus, the Cape Cod Times reported. A group of students traveling to New York and Washington D.C. in April were also sickened by what the D.C. Department of Health suspected to be norovirus. Dozens of students and at least three teachers were sickened.

Camp Cloverleaf
More than 30 people were sickened in an outbreak of norovirus at a Lake Placid, Florida, summer camp. Google Maps