Cryptosporidiosis outbreak linked to Zumbrota, Minnesota campground visitors

The Minnesota Department of Health has identified an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis associated with people who visited the Shades of Sherwood Campground in Zumbrota during the month of July. MDH is asking anyone who visited the Shades of Sherwood during July to contact its waterborne diseases unit at 651-201-5794.

State health investigators have identified three ill people so far, including one who required hospitalization. One of these people was also infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

MDH investigators want to speak with people who visited Shades of Sherwood since July 1, regardless of whether they became ill, to better identify the source of the infection and to assess the ongoing risk. This public input is especially important because MDH investigators have been unable to get key information from the facility itself. 

Friday morning, MDH said they are adding extra staff to handle incoming messages from people.

"If you are trying to contact us and can’t reach anyone or the mailbox is full, please keep trying," the department posted on Facebook.

Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Cryptosporidium. The illness is spread when people come into contact with fecal matter from an infected person or animal. The parasite is able to survive outside the human body for long periods of time and is highly resistant to chlorine.

Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis often include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss and low-grade fever. People typically become ill about a week after exposure, but this can range from two to 14 days. Most people recover in one to two weeks, but they will continue to shed the parasite in their stools for at least two weeks after symptoms end. Approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of cases require hospitalization for their illness. Illness can be especially severe or prolonged in people with weakened immune systems.

Health officials encourage anyone who experienced cryptosporidiosis symptoms to contact their health care provider. Anyone with symptoms of cryptosporidiosis should also avoid swimming while sick and for two weeks after their symptoms go away.  

Cryptosporidiosis is a common cause of waterborne illness and is the most common cause of recreational water illness outbreaks in the United States. Approximately 350-450 cases of cryptosporidiosis are diagnosed in Minnesota each year. More information on cryptosporidiosis can be found on the cryptosporidiosis home page on the MDH website.