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E. coli O157:H7 Tainted Hamburger Linked to Boy Scout Illnesses in Virginia

One would think that it is a really bad idea to poison boy scouts a few hours outside of Washington DC with E. coli-tainted hamburger, but apparently not.

According to press reports, Virginia Health officials confirmed today that beef taken from the Boy Scout camp in Goshen tested positive for the E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. However, Alan Lambert, the Scout Executive for the National Capital Area Scout council says the Virginia Department of Health says it may not be the only culprit in the outbreak there. He held a press conference in Bethesda, MD Monday morning. Lambert says the USDA is continuing with its investigation.

Health department officials have confirmed at least 14 boys and one adult were infected with E. coli while attending a Boy Scout camp in Rockbridge County. As many as 60 people who attended the Goshen Scout Reservation last week reported becoming ill, and the number of E. coli cases could increase as test results are analyzed, according to the Virginia Department of Health. All 14 boys were from Northern Virginia, and nine were hospitalized.

Water does not seem to be the source of the infection, said Dr. Douglas Larsen, director for Central Shenandoah Health District. The camp is part of Larsen’s district. All six water wells at the camp tested negative on June 21, just prior to the outbreak, Larsen said.

Health department officials have confirmed at least 14 boys and one adult were infected with E. coli while attending a Boy Scout camp in Rockbridge County. As many as 60 people who attended the Goshen Scout Reservation last week reported becoming ill, and the number of E. coli cases could increase as test results are analyzed, according to the Virginia Department of Health. All 14 boys were from Northern Virginia, and nine were hospitalized.

Health officials in Northern Virginia are in the process of talking to those with confirmed cases about what food they ate. That could lead to some more clues, Larsen said.

Also, according to a Boy Scout press release, the Goshen Scout Reservation has been closed and will remain so until further notice. Earlier today, the National Capital Area Council (NCAC), BSA was made aware of three additional Scouts showing symptomatic signs of E. coli bacteria infection. The affected Scouts were at Goshen Scout Reservation during week 5 (July 28 – August 2).

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