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Most of football team ill from bad water at camp

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HYRUM, Cache County — Two-thirds of the Mountain Crest High School football team became ill after drinking irrigation water at a team camp.

Dr. James Davis of Intermountain Health Care Sports Medicine said at least two of the boys had a potentially fatal strain of E. coli, but they were doing well and had only the same symptoms as the others: diarrhea, fevers, chills and nausea.

The State Health Department said Monday that lab tests also confirmed cases of campylobacter and shigella. The bacteria were assumed to have come from the irrigation water, but tests on the water had not been completed.

More than 100 football players attended the annual team retreat in Paradise on Aug. 7.

Coach Dan Cox said everyone was exposed when the water was served with dinner. "We weren't aware of the markings on the faucets and we filled up five-gallon coolers. That's what we washed down dinner with, not knowing."

The next morning, the manager of the camping area saw some boys drinking from the red-marked hose and told them it was irrigation water.

Cox said he wondered how long it would take for the team to get sick. "I hoped we would be lucky; we weren't lucky," he said.

Some players started showing symptoms the next day, and by Thursday, Cox knew there was a large-scale problem. Stool samples were taken from 30 sick players Saturday and sent to the State Health Department for testing.

Offensive line coach Dave Kuresa said his son, Jake, a fullback and defensive end, started showing symptoms Tuesday.

Kuresa and his son made it to practice with 34 other players Monday. Cox said he made at least 10 sit out because they were too sick.