Norovirus scare closes Blue Lake to swimmers

2 families reported vomiting, rash and cramps after swimming

Blue Lake Park in Fairview, Ore. (Google Commons)
Blue Lake Park in Fairview, Ore. (Google Commons)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Blue Lake Regional Park is closed to swimmers following reports of diarrhea.

Two families who swam in the lake over the weekend of July 12 and 13 reported diarrhea, vomiting, rash and cramps, prompting the Multnomah County Health Department to suspend swimming, while officials test for norovirus or similar stomach virus.

Officials are still working to determine whether the illness is linked to swimming in the lake. Diarrhea-causing bacteria and viruses can enter lakes when a person who is sick defecates in the water.

“Our initial impression is that the illness is due to norovirus or a similar stomach virus,” said Deputy Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines.

As a precaution, officials are also testing for E. Coli. In the past, norovirus and E. Coli have been linked to Blue Lake. When swimmers inadvertently ingest contaminated water, they run the risk of becoming ill as well.

Health officials expect an update on the status of the tests later today. The lake has been closed since Monday.


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