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Dozens of campers sick from river water in Belgian Ardennes

21:40 24/07/2017

Water from the river Ourthe may have caused the illnesses of dozens of young campers over the last week in the Belgian Ardennes, reports RTL News. In the same week, three camps ended prematurely because participants fell ill.

Ten days ago, several Flemish camps and other youth associations that had kayaked down the river or one of its side branches had to pack it up early and head home due to massive bowel and intestinal complaints from some of the children and camp leaders.

In Vielsalm at the weekend, 16 children and six leaders of Scouts and Guides Vlaanderen became unwell. The mostly 12- to 13-year-olds were sent home. The group is still awaiting the results of a water analysis before determining whether exposure to pathogens in the water could be the cause.

The water level in the Ourthe is exeptionally low due to the dry summer, especially in its tributaries, causing the water to heat up quickly and potentially become a breeding ground for bacteria. Campers are advised not to enter the water until further notice.

Written by Robyn Boyle