Idaho: Norovirus identified in Eagle Island State Park outbreak, over 100 sickened
The cause of the outbreak of more than 100 cases of vomiting and diarrhea earlier this week at Eagle Island State Park, 8 miles west of Boise, has been identified as norovirus, according to The Central District Health Department (CDHD).
Scores of cases were reported to health officials on Monday and Tuesday.
“The virus can spread from person-to-person through recreational water, food, and direct contact with ill people,” said Kimberly Link, Program Manager for Communicable Disease Control at CDHD. “Since human stool and vomit are the main sources of norovirus, the likely source was a sick person or party that swam in the water or became ill at the park.”
After receiving reports of illness, IDPR closed the swimming area. Eagle Island State Park staff are now working with CDHD and DEQ to drain the lake and thoroughly disinfect impacted facilities. Results of routine water quality monitoring for E. coli bacteria at the swimming area do not show elevated bacteria concentrations. There is no routine approved water test for norovirus.
The swimming areas at Eagle Island will remain closed for two weeks to allow for complete drainage and refill of the lake. All other areas at the park will remain open for recreational use.
Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that often goes by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning. Looking for a job in health care? Check here to see what’s available
The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.
Norovirus is typically spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page
Norovirus causes more than 20 million illnesses annually, and it is the leading cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the United States.