1,000 runners sickened with suspected Norovirus after French mud run

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Mud run
A mud run participant passes a mud barrier in this 2015 file photo.
ktrk-AP Photo/Ronald Zak

ALPES-MARITIMES, France -- Nearly 1,000 runners are sick with a suspected case of Norovirus after taking part in a mud run in southeast France, the country's health officials confirm.

The race, which involves 22 obstacles featuring ice, mud and electricity, took part in the Alpes-Maritimes region of France this past Saturday. Since then, one out of every eight participants has come down with an outbreak of gastroenteritis, with common symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting.

Health officials believe the patients may have ingested mud during the race that was laced with some kind of bacteria. The mud run organizer confirmed on it's website that it's working with health officials to test ground samples to determine the cause of the illness.

At least one runner was hospitalized as a result of the illness, but health officials say there are no serious or life-threatening cases.

This isn't the first time runners taking part in a mud run have gotten sick after the event. In 2012, the CDC reported 22 runners got sick after a Tough Mudder race, the Washington Post reports. In that case, those runners had swallowed mud laced with cattle and pig feces, causing them to become infected with Campylobacter coli, a bacteria that can bring on a case of acute gastroenteritis. And earlier this year, a woman claimed she contracted a flesh eating bacteria that caused her to go blind in one eye after participating in a mud run event in Dallas.