Vail illness investigation continues; symptoms appear to be viral
Ryan Summerlin May 6, 2014
EAGLE COUNTY — Eagle County’s Public Health Department is continuing to investigate a gastrointestinal illness that affected some attendees of the Colorado Future Business Leaders of America conference in Vail earlier in the week.
Seven people were treated and released from the Vail Valley Medical Center in the early morning of April 29 with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. Approximately 2,000 students were in the area for the annual conference, which ended Tuesday. Additional participants have reported similar symptoms since returning home.
While laboratory tests are still pending, public health officials say the symptoms, spread and duration indicate a viral illness such as norovirus. Initial findings indicate there were several instances of sick people vomiting within close proximity to others, which often results in person-to-person transmission of norovirus-like sickness.
Viral gastroenteritis can spread rapidly among people who have regular close contact, such as within schools and school buses, child care centers, and nursing homes. Those who are ill can transmit the virus from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least two days after recovery. For this reason, health officials recommend that sick people stay home from school or work and refrain from making food for others for two days after their last symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea.
Health officials say frequent hand washing is the best way to prevent infection. It is also recommended that potentially contaminated areas be disinfected with a solution of one part household bleach mixed with nine parts water.
For more information on norovirus, visit www.cdc.gov/norovirus.