Looks like they picked the wrong week to go to camp: Norovirus outbreak at Christie Lake sends 120 campers home

At least one parent says there’s been a lack of communication between camp officials and parents after it was confirmed all 120 campers at Christie Lake Kids’ first session are being sent home (that’s in Canada).

Christie Lake Kids'A spokesperson confirmed Wednesday about 20 kids fell ill amid what the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit says appears to be a norovirus outbreak.

Natalie Benson, director of fundraising and communications at Christie Lake, says some of the kids had to be hospitalized with what appeared to be severe gastrointestinal symptoms.

“It’s really been brought on, not entirely, by the heat,” she said. “When it’s weather like we’re seeing they really have not a lot of places to get cool and to drink lots of fluids so some of them have become dehydrated as well.”

Benson said the camp was working to contact parents and let them know their kids were coming home, but Robin Lacasse, whose daughter and niece are both at Christie Lake, says she only heard about the cancellation through the news and through word of mouth.

“I should’ve been told already,” she said. “If I didn’t have Facebook, or cell phones, and not everybody watches the news. How many kids are going to get off the bus tomorrow without their families?”

Lacasse’s niece was brought to an emergency room at around 3 a.m. Wednesday and had since been sent back to camp to rest.

Dr. Paula Stewart, medical officer of health with the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit says norovirus is unique because of how quickly it can spread.

“A very small amount can make an individual sick, which is why it can cause outbreaks,” she says, adding the virus can easily become airborne if one child is vomiting in the vicinity of other kids.

Dr. Stewart says the camp had to close to give staff time to do proper cleaning to have it ready in time for the next session.

Benson says the camp is now working on finding room for the affected children to make sure they can still go to camp this summer.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, barfblog.com retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 dpowell29@gmail.com 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time