A popular Queensland campsite could be shut down if an emerging gastro outbreak cannot be brought under control.
Key points:The camping area was closed in late 2020 in response to a gastro outbreakA health official is urging people to reconsider visiting the site after reports of new casesThere have been 80 cases of norovirus at Inskip Point since December 2020
More than a dozen cases of gastro-intestinal illness at Inskip Point were reported to authorities over the weekend.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service public health physician Rob McClure said samples have confirmed the illness is norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
"One hundred per cent of the samples taken have come back with norovirus," Dr McClure said.
"It just runs like wildfire through densely populated areas."
Management plan, bigger question
Visitor numbers to the site have been capped at 1,100 in an attempt to control the outbreak and the MV Sarawak campground has been closed to new arrivals.
"We've got a plan that we're working through with Parks and Wildlife to manage this in four components ," Dr McClure said.
"The first one is getting the evidence — who's sick, how many people are sick, where are they sick and what is the organism?
"It's a case of good quality health education and people being prepared, so that they can come with clean water, they can come with good washing in their camp facilities, and they can look after their hand hygiene."
Mr McClure says a bigger question is how campgrounds are built in the first place.
"I think we can think through in the future, how do we design campsites," he said.
"I think this is something that we'll look at over the next 12 months."
More than 80 cases have now been recorded at the Inskip Point campgrounds since December last year.
The Department of Environment and Science said extra rangers had been rostered on to provide additional campground services as Christmas school holidays approach.
Rangers are also increasing the frequency of deep cleaning as a further precaution.
Closure on the cards
Dr McClure said if measures to control the outbreak proved insufficient the whole site may need to be closed.
"If we can't keep control of the infection, then yes, ultimate closure is something which everyone will consider and is probably seen as the next step up," he said.
He said people needed to carefully consider whether they should stay at the campground.
"It's substantial enough for you to think seriously about whether you want to take that move," he said.
For those who decide not to cancel their camping trip, Dr McClure advises drinking plenty of water and seeking medical help "at the slightest sign of becoming unwell".
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Posted 8 Nov 20218 Nov 2021Mon 8 Nov 2021 at 10:39pm, updated 8 Nov 20218 Nov 2021Mon 8 Nov 2021 at 10:59pmShareCopy linkFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsApp