A well-known campground in Australia has been shut for new reservations following numerous reports of campers getting unwell with gastroenteritis, according to a report by ABC News Australia.
A total of 13 people have been diagnosed with gastro this month in Inskip Point near Rainbow Beach in south-east Queensland, according to a Department of Environment and Science (DES) spokesperson.
It’s the third consecutive year that a gastro-related outbreak has been reported at the campsite that was closed for some time in December of 2020 when campers suffered “severe vomiting.”
The department will only accept bookings for new guests this year on the 22nd of December for campsites in Sarawak and Sarawak West and Not one campsite that is part of the Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area.
The spokesperson explained that the department would honor any reservations already made, but campers may request a refund if they decide not to stay.
The campsites are just half-filled, based on current reservations.
Gastro outbreaks can ‘spread quickly’
University of Queensland School of Public Health Associate Professor Linda Selvey said gastro viruses could quickly spread in heavy campsites because people share similar facilities.
“In a campground, pretty much everybody is going to use the toilet,” she said. “With gastrointestinal illness, that’s where the transmission happens … mainly through the fecal-oral route, but not exclusively.”
Associate Professor Selvey stated that norovirus particles can be present on surfaces for as long as two weeks and can survive in water for months.
She also said flies could transmit gastro-related viruses, especially in camping, where people can urinate in the woods instead of going to the toilet.
“If they then move to your food after that, they could potentially transmit,” Associate Professor Selvey said.
The department still needs to establish the exact type of gastro virus identified.
Amenities being given ‘deep clean’
The DES spokesperson said that rangers had quickly taken action to boost the level of cleanliness of the facilities, in addition to providing more security patrols to provide sanitation education to campers.
“Gastroenteritis is highly infectious and can be passed from person to person very easily,” he said. “People who are experiencing signs of illness should postpone their trip.”
The department advised campers in Inskip to use their own toilets and clean their hands with soap and water that is clean after using bathrooms as well as before cooking food.