Commissioner Novello Stresses Preventive Measures In Response To Gastrointestinal Outbreak In Western New York

Approximately 100 Cases Have Been Reported in Four County Region

ALBANY, NY, August 16, 2005 - State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., today made recommendations in the wake of an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among individuals who attended the Seneca Lake State Park spray grounds within the past three weeks. Approximately 100 cases of gastrointestinal illness have been reported by Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Monroe counties.

The most common symptoms reported are diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache and loss of appetite.

The State Health Department is working with local health departments and the State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to investigate the outbreak. The review is ongoing. As a precautionary measure, the spray grounds at the Seneca Lake State Park have been temporarily closed.

To date, there has been one confirmed case of Cryptosporidiosis in one Wayne County resident. Additional tests are pending to identify the cause.

Dr. Novello is recommending the following precautions:

  • Persons who have attended the Seneca Lake State Park spray grounds since late July and are experiencing gastrointestinal illness should contact their medical provider and their local health department (phone numbers below).
  • Health care workers with patient contact and food workers should notify their employer if they are experiencing gastrointestinal illness symptoms before returning to work.
  • Children and staff with stomach/intestinal illness should refrain from attending day care. Day care centers should consult with their local health department for recommendations on the timing for return to the day care setting. Children should not be transferred to another day care center.

Dr. Novello also recommends that people take action to minimize the chances of acquiring and spreading illness, including thoroughly washing hands after using the toilet, changing diapers or coming in contact with fecal material in any way. Also, swimmers should avoid swallowing water, especially in lakes, ponds or rivers.

Individuals or family members who visited the State Park and are experiencing gastrointestinal illness should contact their health care provider and call their local county health department at the following numbers:

  • - Seneca 315-539-1920
  • - Ontario 585-396-4343
  • - Wayne 315-946-5749
  • - Monroe 585-274-6079