BOWLING GREEN — Wood County Health District is looking into an outbreak after several attendees of an event last weekend called to report their illness.
Calls started coming in Tuesday with people reporting symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. After further questions, they seem to have one common connection. They all attended a fundraising event on Saturday for the conservation group We Are Outdoors.
“At this point in the investigation, it’s too early to know what may have caused this outbreak,” says epidemiologist Connor Rittwage. “We’re doing everything we can to identify the cause. Possibilities include a food or beverage item or an ill food handler, organizer or guest.”
Health district employees have inspected the facility and interviewed some of the organizers and attendees. To help determine what is making people sick, some people are being asked to provide a stool (poop) sample for testing. Samples of leftover foods may also be sent for testing. So far, the health district has collected information on 29 attendees, 21 of which had symptoms.
The health district is asking all attendees – ill or not – to complete a survey to try to identify what may have caused the outbreak. The survey asks questions about what they ate and drank as well as what activities they participated in.
Rittwage says that getting information from as many people as possible helps to see patterns to who got sick and who didn’t. However, he cautions that, unfortunately, in most cases the cause of an outbreak like this is never determined.
Anyone who attended the We Are Outdoors event is asked to complete an online survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/WEAREOUT. If someone has questions about the survey, they can contact Rittwage at 419-354-4306.
The mission of Wood County Health District is to prevent disease, promote healthy lifestyles and protect the health of everyone in Wood County. Our Community Health and Wellness Center provides comprehensive medical services for men, women and children. We welcome all patients, including uninsured or underinsured clients, regardless of their ability to pay, and we accept most third-party insurance. For more information, visit www.woodcountyhealth.org