Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced this afternoon the temporary closing of the Stone Environmental Camp in Madison due to cases of Salmonella linked to the camp. Facility managers and officials with the Stone Environmental Camp are voluntarily suspending operations at the site until at least the middle of next week as health officials continue to investigate how the Salmonella is being transmitted. The decision to close the camp came after the camp reported illness in approximately 20 of 80 students who stayed at the facility this week.
The DHHS Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) has been involved in investigating an outbreak of Salmonella among camp attendees since last week when approximately 70 of 98 students and staff from a different group became ill after spending time at the camp. The Bureau of Food Protection completed an inspection of the facility on Monday, April 20. The new illnesses have not yet been confirmed as Salmonella infections. “It has been very difficult in this case to trace the exact source of the Salmonella bacteria,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “An investigation of this type involves interviewing school-age children and their parents about activities and what they ate days earlier, collecting samples for testing, inspecting the kitchen, testing potentially contaminated food items, and interviewing camp staff.”
Salmonella is a bacteria that causes diarrheal (gastrointestinal) illness in humans. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain that start 1 to 3 days after someone is infected. These symptoms usually go away after about a week. Sometimes people have to see a doctor or go to the hospital because the diarrhea is severe or the infection has affected other organs.
“Because it has been difficult to pinpoint the source of the -,” continued Montero, “it is not possible at this time to explain how the children became infected. It could be a food preparation issue or a contaminated item or a previously existing illness in one of the food handlers. We will continue to with camp officials, who have been very cooperative on this investigation, as we try to find the source of this outbreak.”