Parasite identified in Rockford varsity football team illnesses

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ROCKFORD Mich. -- Health officials believe a parasite caused several members of the Rockford varsity football team to get sick, forcing them to forfeit Friday's season-opener.

Lab results from the Kent County Health Department have confirmed two reports of Cryptosporidiosis in people associated with the team.

Crypto is a gastrointestinal illness caused by fecal contamination usually found in water, which left 30-50 people sick with flu-like symptoms, even sending one student to the hospital.

"It’s only the varsity program that’s experiencing this outbreak," said Adam London, Admin Health officer with the KCHD.

The original concern was that the illness was contracted on school property either through air or water. Investigators have eased those worries, saying the Rockford campus and water are safe and confirming the illness was contracted off site.

"I wouldn’t be expecting too many more cases developing, however, there are secondary cases," London said.

Officials are warning everyone to properly wash their hands, saying the illness could spread person-to-person due to poor hygiene habits.

Crypto is a serious illness lasting nearly 30 days, in some cases it's caused death. Officials are now focusing resources on where the illness originated. saying a team-building camping trip may be the culprit.

"We are focusing on camping trip in the Roscommon area during Aug. 12th and also a brown-bag luncheon that they had," London said.

Kent Co. health officials urge anyone associated with the Rockford football team that becomes sick should contact their doctor right away.


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