The Grand Canyon: Dozens fall ill with severe stomach bug after camping near idyllic waterfalls at popular tourist attraction in America

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Dozens of people have fallen ill with a severe stomach bug after visiting the popular Grand Canyon waterfalls

Dozens of people have fallen ill with a severe stomach bug after visiting a popular tourist attraction in America. Hikers at the Havasupai reservation campsite in Arizona reported experiencing symptoms of “gastrointestinal illness” on social media, at a nearby clinic, after camping near the idyllic Grand Canyon waterfalls.

Some of those who had fallen ill were too weak to hike out of the remote campsite at the bottom of the canyon, which isn’t accessible by car, and had to be taken out by helicopter, according to FOX-10 Phoenix. Madelyn Melchiors, 32, was one of the unlucky campers who contracted the illness, and said she was vomiting severely and had a fever that lasted for multiple days after pitching a tent on the Havasupai reservation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The federal Indian Health Service said that a clinic it oversees on the reservation is providing timely medical attention to people who became ill, and environmental health officers with the regional IHS office have been sent to Havasupai to investigate the source of the outbreak and to implement measures to keep it from spreading. 

Dozens of people have fallen ill with a severe stomach after visiting the popular Grand Canyon waterfalls. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)Dozens of people have fallen ill with a severe stomach after visiting the popular Grand Canyon waterfalls. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)
Dozens of people have fallen ill with a severe stomach after visiting the popular Grand Canyon waterfalls. (Photo: AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

The agency said in a statement: “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”. While camping, Ms Melchiors said she drank from a spring that is tested and listed as potable, as well as other sources using a gravity-fed filter that screens out bacteria and protozoa – but not viruses.

County health spokesperson Trish Lees said hikers should take extra precautions to prevent the spread of illness, including filtering water. The county said: “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”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Thousands of tourists travel to the Havasupai reservation each year to camp near a series of picturesque waterfalls. The hike takes tourists 8 miles (13 kilometers) down a winding trail through desert landscape before they reach the first waterfall. The Havasupai Tribe Tourism Office says it tested the water last week from a local spring that visitors rely on for drinking and found it was safe for human consumption.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.