More than 100 report illness possibly linked to Big Island

More than 100 people have fallen ill after visiting "Big Island" during the 4th of July, with their symptoms matching the criteria health officials are looking for in their ongoing investigation.

According to Hennepin County Health officials, the county has returned 140 phone calls from people who reported being ill, and 116 of them have met the case definition - meaning they were at “Big Island” during the 4th of July weekend and have since exhibited symptoms of vomiting and/or multiple episodes of diarrhea.

No source has been identified at this time, but officials say the symptoms are consistent with foodborne or waterborne illness.

“Did they go swimming in the water? Did they accidentally ingest some water and what were they eating before they went on the boat? What were they drinking when they were on the boat?” asked Dave Johnson, Epidemiology Manager for the health department. 

Johnson said knowing what caused so many to get sick is important for prevention, and if it’s not foodborne, it’s possible someone who was sick used the lake like a toilet.

Hennepin County Health said we should know the source by the end of the week.