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May 19 UPDATE: Statement on the illness reported at Camp Molly Lauman


On Monday, we were made aware of a number of adults and girls becoming ill after attending an event at Camp Molly Lauman last weekend.

Because the health and safety of our visitors is of the utmost importance, Girl Scouts of Ohio's Heartland has been working with representatives from the Scioto County Health Department, Portsmouth City Health Department and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) on testing and determining the root cause of the illnesses. 

This morning we received the results from water tests conducted at Camp Molly Lauman on Tuesday. Independent tests conducted returned a negative result for bacterial contaminants. All test results have been forwarded to our partners at the Ohio EPA and the county health department. 

Based on the Scioto County Health Department's recommendations, all events at the camp have been cancelled through Memorial Day. An in-depth cleaning has been scheduled to eliminate any contamination and will take two to three days to complete. 

All participants who attended the weekend event have been updated daily as new information is available.

The Portsmouth City Health Department is encouraging those who are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, headache or chills, to please contact the Scioto County Health Department to assist in tracking and identifying a cause of the illness. Please contact Molly Dargavell, BS, Regional Epidemiologist for Scioto County, Portsmouth City, Lawrence County at (740) 354-8931 or by email at Molly.Dargavell@portsmouthoh.org

We are grateful for the expertise and assistance received from our partners and we will continue to update our staff and volunteers. We appreciate the heartfelt concern and assistance in finding answers to the root cause of this situation. 

Lastly, the health department provides the following guidance to reduce the spread of illness:

1. Practice proper hand hygiene: 

Always wash your hands carefully with soap and water—

• after using the toilet and changing diapers, and

• before eating, preparing, or handling food.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing. But, they should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water.

2. Wash fruits and vegetables and cook seafood thoroughly

Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.

Be aware that viruses are relatively resistant. They can survive temperatures as high as 140°F and quick steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish. Food that might be contaminated with a virus should be thrown out. Keep sick infants and children out of areas where food is being handled and prepared. 

3. When you are sick, do not prepare food or care for others

You should not prepare food for others or provide healthcare while you are sick and for at least 2 to 3 days after you recover. This also applies to sick workers in schools, daycares, and other places where they may expose people to norovirus.

4. Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces

After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. Use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 1000–5000 ppm (5–25 tablespoons of household bleach [5.25%] per gallon of water) or other disinfectant registered as effective against viruses by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

5. Wash laundry thoroughly

Immediately remove and wash clothes or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool (feces). You should—

• Handle soiled items carefully without agitating them.

• Wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled items and wash your hands after and wash the items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length then machine dry them.