3 Dozen Children Fell Ill At A Florida Summer Camp. No One Knows Why

According to Highlands County Public Safety Director 33 children and three parent chaperons at 4-H Camp Cloverleaf in Lake Placid became nauseated and started vomiting.

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3 Dozen Children Fell Ill At A Florida Summer Camp. No One Knows Why

The County Public Safety Director said it could have been caused by norovirus or an amoeba in the water.


Nearly three dozen children and three adults at a summer camp in central Florida were rushed to hospitals Thursday after they mysteriously became ill, authorities said.

Highlands County Public Safety Director Marc Bashoor said that 33 children and three parent chaperons at 4-H Camp Cloverleaf in Lake Placid became nauseated and started vomiting. Some of them, Bashoor said, also experienced headaches and fevers.

One child who had been vomiting passed out, which prompted a 911 call, he said, and then "like dominoes, kids started throwing up."

Officials with the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, which oversees the state's 4-H, said in statement Friday that the sickened campers and chaperones were transported to two hospitals for treatment. Although it's unclear what caused the illness, the institute said that the county health department has determined that the lake is "clean" and that the foods were free from contamination.

Bashoor had said it could have been caused by norovirus or an amoeba in the water, but health officials have not determined the source.

Beverly James, a spokeswoman for the university's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, said the children, ages 8 to 13, and the adults have been released from the hospital. The children had been attending a week-long summer camp along with 87 other children, all of whom returned home Friday morning as scheduled.

James said in the statement that cleaning crews will completely sanitize the camp before more children arrive July 2.

Authorities said Thursday on Twitter that Highlands County Fire and Rescue responded to a "mass casualty incident" Thursday night at the camp, where 17 children were being evaluated.

But the number continued to rise - to 26, then 30, then 33, plus the three adults.

After the incident, Heather Kent, interim associate 4-H program leader in the state, said that the campers and their families "have been our No. 1 priority."

"It's not unusual for a couple of kids to get sick, especially if they're not used to being in the outdoors. But it's typically not 25 percent of the camp," she said, noting that 120 children attended the camp.





(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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