BRIDGTON, Maine — Maine state scientists say the highly contagious norovirus sickened nearly 100 people who swam at Woods Pond Beach or had contact with someone who did.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said it found 97 people associated with the outbreak, according to Bridgton Town Manager Bob Peabody.
Those individuals reported experiencing a few days of symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever and cramps.
Norovirus can be spread by eating contaminated food, touching a contaminated surface and then touching your mouth, or by having contact with someone who is infected. It spreads especially fast in places where people share close quarters, like cruise ships, hospitals and schools.
“It’s highly contagious, so it would appear that there’s a human element there, that somebody had it and was at the beach,” Peabody told the Portland Press Herald. “I think the message is, if you’re sick or your children are sick, don’t go to the beach.”
The town of Bridgton closed the beach from July 6 through July 10.
Water from the pond and sinks in a public bathroom on the beach were tested on July 9 for E. coli. Results showed the swimming water levels to be within an acceptable limit.
However, water from the sink taps was not found to be at an acceptable limit, according to Peabody.
"As an additional precaution I had the two sinks removed and installed hand sanitizers and re-opened the beach for swimming," Peabody said in a statement.