Friday, May 06, 2011

Virus Scare Closes Fisheating Creek Lake

29 People Get Sick After Swimming - Lake Closed For 3 Days

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- After 29 people identified symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach cramps Easter weekend after swimming in the lake at the Fisheating Creek Campground, the Glades Health Department closed the recreational swimming lake for three days.

At the north end of the Fisheating Creek State Park is a several acre lake, commonly used for swimming by campers and visitors to this scenic area of Glades county.

On Easter weekend, swimmers started complaining of getting sick. Brian Prowant, Environmental chief of the Hendry-Glades Health Department in LaBelle says calls were made to his office on Monday morning, April 25th, the day after Easter, saying the park office had also been receiving calls about camper sickness after swimming in the lake.

Samples were taken from the lake, and although a final report has not been issued, pending analysis by Health Department staff, it seems  the norovirus might be the culprit leading to illness by so many swimmers.

Prowant says 76 people were interviewed, and 29 had probable symptoms that may ultimately be linked to the lake water, although he emphasized that a final report has not been made.

This type of water-born infection is fairly common, said Prowant even in chlorinated swimming pools. It is very contagious and could have been caused by feces or many types of infected material released into the water. There could also be a possibility that someone already infected, swam in the lake and caused the infection to spread rapidly to others.

The ages of those thought to be infected, according to the investigation, were from 8 months to 43 years old, the median age being 25.

About the Norovirus (from the CDC):
It is often called by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning. The most common symptoms of acute gastroenteritis are diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
Noroviruses spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States and the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States.


  1. The management of the Outpost tests the water monthly at three different locations. The day we received reports from visitors and for three consecutive days after guests reported the sickness we pulled water samples. Each time the water tested safe and bacteria counts were well below state standards for safe swimming.

    It would be helpful now if the Health Dept called back the 76 people they interviewed and let them know the water is safe and the campground was in full compliance.

    We regret the sickness and discomfort of our campers and visitors who came into contact with this virus and are thankful no one suffered serious long term illness. Campers and visitors safety and well being are important to us. We continue to test the water at the swimming hole and appreciate everyone using proper precautions when swimming in a public bathing facility.

  2. Having spent two or three nights at the campground in a camping trailer, I can attest that the Fish Eating Creek Campground is the filthiest, most unsanitary campground in the WORLD...and I have camped over 100 days around the world in the past 12 months. The showers and restrooms haven't been adequately cleaned in YEARS. Full of soap scum and mildew. Restrooms can cause the norovirus to spread from unclean seats and door handles. This place should be shut down until the state inspects it thouroughly!