Results not back on camp sickness

Aug 13 2011 - 9:57pm

OGDEN -- The mother of one of the girls who got sick after attending a church camp last week said Saturday she was told her daughter had a strain of E-coli, a potentially deadly bacterial infection that causes severe gastrointestinal upset.

Lori Buttars, the spokeswoman for the Weber-Morgan Health Department said the tests, however, showed only precursor toxin for several possible types of bacteria, one of which could be E-coli, and that final test results are still not in.

A group of fewer than a dozen girls, aged about 12, came down with stomach ailments after attending Camp Shawnee in Huntsville. The camp is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Brenda Sonoda, Ogden, said Saturday her daughter Breann became sick after coming home from camp and ended up in the emergency room at McKay-Dee Hospital.

She said the hospital ran tests and, after 48 hours, "called up and said your daughter has a strain of E-coli," but said it was a strain that is not treated with antibiotics.

Sonoda said she was worried because she runs a day care, so she contacted the health department and was assured the business would be safe. She said her daughter has since recovered from whatever it was she had.

Buttars said Saturday she contacted McKay-Dee and found out that the test it ran was positive for Shiga toxin, which is produced by a variety of infectious bacteria which produce salmonella, E-coli and other diseases.

The bacteria are "uncommonly common," she said, and are found in water, dirt, bird droppings, streams and other places.

Buttars said the health department is still waiting for confirmation of testing done on blood and stool samples from the patients, which should narrow the problem from the dozens of possible strains of bacteria it could be.

"Until we get the exact strain, the rules are we can't even tell you we have a case, but we do have six people and they are being treated," she said.

Jenny Pratt said her daughter, Emily Buck, 12, had to be hospitalized from Tuesday through Thursday because she was in such severe pain.

She said no firm diagnosis has been made, and said Emily is feeling better but still not well.

Her theory of what happened, she said, is that "from what the girls were telling me, there was a spigot near the camp site that a few of the girls used for drinking water," fed by untreated water from Pineview Reservoir, "and before my daughter went on a hike she filled up a drinking bottle.

"She said 'Mom I only drank one,' and I said 'That will do it.'"

From Around the Web