More than 300 contract mystery illness
PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio (AP) -- More than 300 people appear to be linked to a mysterious illness including nausea, fever, and vomiting in recent weeks on Lake Erie's South Bass Island, health officials said Thursday.
Health officials have documented 301 cases and are investigating 94 other claims of illnesses, said Ohio Department of Health spokesman Kristopher Weiss.
Most of the people had visited the island in the first two weeks of August, but some cases go back to early June, he said. So far, health officials have not found a source.
Symptoms including nausea, chills, fever, abdominal cramps and vomiting have generally lasted about 24 hours. Most people said they became sick within two or three days of visiting the island, which is about halfway between Toledo and Cleveland.
Put-in-Bay is popular tourist spot known for its nightlife and laid-back lifesytle. It draws about 15,000 people by boat on the weekends.
Nancy Osborn, director of the Ottawa County Health Department, said she is hoping that by today she will have the results of testing on samples from those who have been stricken.
The state Health Department, which is handling the tests, said it can't put a timetable on the results.
Test results from private labs confirmed four cases of campylobacter -- a common infectious disease usually coming from food or water contaminated with bacteria.
A fifth person tested positive for salmonella, which is generally spread through contaminated food or water, Weiss said.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is awaiting results on samples taken Wednesday at two businesses that were told to stop using their septic systems after finding wells at the two sites tested positive for E. Coli.
Health officials have said there is no known connection between the illnesses and the two businesses, and added that some people who became sick did not visit either business.