Dozens Of Hikers Fall Ill Near Grand Canyon's Scenic Waterfalls
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Dozens Of Hikers Fall Ill Near Grand Canyon's Scenic Waterfalls

A trip to the Grand Canyon left several hikers feeling ill. A popular vacation spot like the Grand Canyon is probably the last place you expect to get sick, but that doesn't mean it's not a reality.

Some sort of virus worked its way through a camping site near the canyons' waterfalls, causing dozens of hikers to get sick. These hikers at the Havasupai reservation campsite in Arizona reported feelings of "gastrointestinal illness." Some of them sought medical attention at a nearby clinic.

It appears that it may have been a norovirus. One county warned campers of the virus beforehand. Getting sick while hiking created an unfortunate side effect. Some became too ill to hike back out of the canyon. Helicopters had to lift them out of the area.

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Madelyn Melchiors, 32, was one hiker who contracted the virus. She said that she had been sick since Monday and spent several days in a tent at the Grand Canyon campsite. It was only after days that she felt strong enough to hike 10 miles back to the road. She ended up giving her gear to a mule.

Grand Canyon Site Linked To Illness

"I said, 'If someone can just pack out my 30-pound pack, I think I can just limp along,'" said Melchiors. "I slept 16 hours and drank a bunch of electrolytes [afterward]. I'm still not normal, but I will be OK. I'm grateful for that." After several people reported illness, environmental health officers went to the Grand Canyon campsite to try to locate the source of the virus. They determine the water from the local springs was safe.

Meanwhile, an Indian Health Service-run clinic is helping to treat those that are ill. "Our priority is the health and well-being of the Havasupai residents and visitors, and we are working closely with local health authorities and other partners to manage this situation effectively," the agency said in a statement.

Coconino County health officials warned others not to visit the Grand Canyon campsite. These officials are worried about the virus spreading and infecting more campers. It's a big mess for sure, and visitors aren't happy to be under the weather.

"Watch for early symptoms of norovirus, such as stomach pain and nausea, before the trip. Norovirus spreads easily on camping trips, especially when clean water supplies can be limited and hand washing facilities may be non-existent. Isolate people who are sick from other campers," the county said.