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Washington swimming area closed due to possible norovirus contamination

July 23, 2014
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More than 200 people were sickened with symptoms similar to norovirus after swimming in Horseshoe Lake in Kitsap County, Wash., over the past couple of days. The lake has been closed to swimmers since July 21 and health and environmental officials are looking into the cause of the suspected water contamination, according to media reports.

The first reports of sickness started to come in over the weekend, with most people suffering from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea -- symptoms that health officials say could be linked to norovirus. However, diagnosis is only possible after lab test results have been received and until then Horseshoe Lake will remain closed as a preventive measure, officials said. Results from lab tests are expected this week, when officials will know if the contamination was caused by a virus or bacteria and will come up with a plan to remedy the situation at the lake. According to Kitsap health officials, they were witnessing the worst outbreak of what is suspected to be a waterborne-illness in more than 20 years.

Two other Washington swimming areas were closed due to water contamination last week, but these closures were unrelated to the Horseshoe Lake situation. Twanoh State Park on Hood Canal and Dash Point State Park in King County were both closed because of high levels of fecal bacteria in the water. No illnesses have been reported in relation to either swimming area, Seattle-based Kiro 7 TV reported.

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