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Greater than 150 rafters and backcountry campers who visited the Grand Canyon in April and Might reported signs of a gastrointestinal sickness, the Nationwide Park Service mentioned this week.

The signs — together with nausea, abdomen cramping and ache, vomiting, and diarrhea — are consultant of norovirus, in accordance with a release from the Nationwide Park Service Workplace of Public Well being. Officers confirmed the virus was discovered on no less than eight of the rafting journeys within the nationwide park to this point.

Park officers mentioned “complete management measures” have been carried out in response, and since early June they’ve seen a “a marked lower in reviews of sickness.”

This quantity of circumstances is uncommon, mentioned John Dillon, govt director for the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association (GCROA), which represents rafting firms licensed to information journeys within the park.

“That is the cruise ship virus, proper?” Dillon mentioned. “So it’s very uncommon for us to expertise one thing like this within the backcountry.”

In a typical season, the businesses run about 650 journeys; Dillon mentioned having one or two of them report a norovirus case could possibly be thought of regular.

The precise trigger hasn’t been recognized, however Dillon mentioned GCROA is working with officers, together with the CDC, to collect information on the outbreaks.

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Typically (incorrectly) known as “the abdomen flu,” norovirus is a extremely contagious sickness that causes the abdomen and intestines to grow to be infected. Signs can seem 12 to 48 hours after being uncovered and might trigger reoccurring vomiting or diarrhea all through the day, which may result in dehydration. Typically, it passes in a single to 3 days.

The virus is transmitted by way of contaminated meals or drinks; placing your fingers in your mouth after touching a contaminated floor; or having direct contact with somebody contaminated by it (comparable to sharing drinks or utensils with them).

“On rafts and in camps, norovirus can unfold rapidly,” NPS mentioned. “The easiest way to forestall norovirus is to observe correct hand washing and common cleanliness and make sure the security of your consuming water.”

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Grand Canyon guests can safely eat water from park-provided fountains and spigots.

Park officers mentioned it isn’t secure to drink water from pure sources, such because the Colorado River, aspect streams, waterfalls or swimming pools — though it could have as soon as been prior to now. Any collected water ought to be filtered and chemically disinfected, or be boiled with a rolling boil for no less than a minute most often (no less than three minutes for elevations 6,500 toes and above).

If a traveler will get sick, Dillon mentioned, that particular person ought to be separated from the remainder of the group to forestall any unfold, after which guides would comply with sanitization protocols. In excessive circumstances, guides might use satellite tv for pc telephones to name in a helicopter to evacuate the traveler to a hospital.

To keep away from catastrophe and sickness, Dillon mentioned, it’s crucial to make use of common sense throughout your journey, respect the situations and the situation, and take heed to guides.

“A Grand Canyon journey generally — whether or not it’s to the rim or to the river — must be a spotlight of 1’s life … not the distress of being in poor health or injured,” he mentioned.


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