An investigation is under way to determine what caused
more than 500 people to become ill with norovirus,
following a stay at the Great Escape Lodge & Indoor
Waterpark in Lake George, N.Y.
Officials first became aware of patrons with
gastrointestinal illness on March 17, according to New York
State Department of Health Spokesperson Beth Goldberg.
Testing confirmed that the culprit was norovirus, a common
cause of acute gastrointestinal illness in both sporadic
cases and outbreaks.
However, it is not yet clear whether the
facility’s aquatic features played a role in the
outbreak. Investigations as to the root cause are still
ongoing, according to Goldberg. She said the incident
appears typical of other norovirus occurrences.
“Common settings of reported outbreaks are
restaurants, nursing homes, schools, and vacation and
cruise settings,” said Goldberg. “There
are multiple ways the virus may have been transmitted in [a
waterpark resort]. Operators of [these] facilities should
continue to monitor their standard operating procedures and
code compliance for these areas to protect the public that
use these services.”
As of press time no one from the Great Escape Lodge
responded to requests for comment. But in response to the
outbreak, more than 40 guests have brought a lawsuit
against operators, seeking injunctive relief for alleged
unsafe or unsanitary conditions at the resort.
Situated across the road from Six Flags Great Escape
theme park, the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge is the first
indoor water park from Six Flags and the first indoor
waterpark resort in New York state. Opened in February
2006, the resort is themed for the local historic
Adirondack Mountain region and includes 200 guest suites
and 38,000-square-foot White Water Bay waterpark.
Norovirus symptoms include nausea, vomiting and stomach
cramps. The virus is passed via contact with stool or vomit
and can be spread person to person by eating contaminated
food, or touching contaminated surfaces.
Outbreaks are common and often result in large attack
- It only takes a small number of viral particles to
- The virus is able to survive on environmental
surfaces and can be transmitted in many ways
- People can shed the virus for many days after