Norovirus-like illness affects more than 15 campers at Bellevue’s Sambica summer camp| Update

King County Public Health recently reported an outbreak of a norovirus-like illness at Bellevue’s Sambica summer camp.

Public Health officials reported 29 affected by the illness, however, Matt Wimmer, the executive director at Sambica said it’s closer to 17. No one has been hospitalized.

“We are very sorry for the children that had to go home on Thursday and to the families as well,” Wimmer said of last week.

The camp reopened Monday, he added.

Wimmer said a staff member was working in the camp’s kitchen last Wednesday evening when she should not have been. A food services manager recognized the worker was sick Thursday morning and she was quarantined. Sambica then contacted King County Public Health.

Public Health’s Environmental Health inspectors visited the camp on Friday, Aug. 11. During the field inspection, they found violations related to improper handwashing facilities and sanitizing – both risk factors for spreading the norovirus.

According to King County, the camp is working cooperatively with Public Health and is cleaning and disinfecting the cabins and kitchen facilities. Staff who are sick will be required to remain home until they are symptom-free for at least 48 hours and Public Health will return later to ensure the facility is decontaminated.

Symptoms include gastroenteritis with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Public Health said the campers have been reporting these symptoms since last Thursday, but officials have not confirmed it to be the norovirus through laboratory testing.

The norovirus is highly contagious and is spread from person-to-person, often being associated with food.

Sambica sent out an email to parents on Friday letting them know of the outbreak.

“The majority of last week’s campers (over 200) had a wonderful week of camp and were not affected by this situation at all,” the email read. “… We went above and beyond what the public health department advised and sanitized all of camp again and will continue to do so for the next two weeks.”

Sambica, a religious camp for children, is located at 4114 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway SE in Bellevue.

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