Cowans Gap lake to reopen after illness that sickened 95

FORT LOUDON, Pa. (WHTM) – The lake at Cowans Gap State Park will reopen to swimmers nearly two weeks after a gastrointestinal illness sickened dozens of people.

Swimming will again be permitted in the lake beginning Saturday, the Pennsylvania departments of Health and Conservation and Natural Resources announced Friday.

The lake had been closed to swimming since July 22, following multiple reports of gastrointestinal illness suspected of being norovirus.

The Health Department said at least 95 people were sickened with symptoms consistent with norovirus. Three of those cases were confirmed as norovirus.

Health Secretary Karen Murphy said her department believes the outbreak was a short term incident. She said the vast majority of those who became ill visited the beach nearly two weeks ago.

Murphy said the illness was associated with swimming, especially among younger children who may have accidentally swallowed contaminated lake water. She said a few may have been infected through contact with an ill family member who swam in the lake.

Norovirus is an extremely contagious virus that is passed from the vomit or stool of an infected person, or through contaminated food or water. It can also be transmitted by touching a contaminated surface and then eating or drinking without washing your hands.

Symptoms can include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

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