PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- Hundreds of people are dealing with severe stomach discomfort after swimming in a popular Kitsap County park.
Horseshoe Lake Park in Port Orchard remains closed and is expected to stay that way through Friday as investigators determine what caused swimmers to get Norovirus-like symptoms.
So far, more than 200 people have reported getting sick and those numbers could increase. Jill Faulkner of Port Orchard had both children experience vomiting and diarrhea after swimming in the lake. She soon realized they weren’t alone.
”When the kids had gotten sick this last time, we didn’t think anything of it. Then everyone else’s kid got sick and we knew something is not right,” said Faulkner.
Kitsap County health officials have tested the water and ruled out bacteria as a cause. They are leaning toward a virus being the cause.
”The lake is where we’re focusing because that’s the common theme for anyone who has reported an illness is that they were at the lake and in the water,” said Keith Grellner, Kitsap County Director of Environmental Health.
”Someone was more than likely ill and then went to the lake and went in the water and either had an accident or had residue on their body and went into the water, and it got spread to people that way,” said Grellner.
County health officials say those showing symptoms were at the lake between Thursday and Sunday. They will be working with the CDC this week to see if they can pinpoint what caused this outbreak, but acknowledge viruses are much harder to track than bacteria.
Stool samples have been collected from two of the ill people and have been sent to the state health laboratory for bacteria and virus analyses. Test results will not be available until Friday afternoon at the earliest.