Mystery illness sickens hundreds of cloggers at Kentucky event

By: Andy Cunningham Email
By: Andy Cunningham Email

They came to Kentucky to compete in a clogging competition. However, hundreds of people went back home with a mysterious illness.

People from five different states reported getting sick after attending the competition in Morehead this past weekend.
Health officials are now trying to figure out why.

"The calls started coming in Monday morning," said Bobby Ratliff.

Ratliff is the Gateway District Public Health Director. He says the phones have been ringing off the hook ever since.

"We are trying to work with folks in all of these states, and still try to identify what happened here," he said.

A dozen squads were entered in the 2011 Bluegrass State Clogging Championships in Morehead, including squads from Winchester and Owingsville.

The mystery illness apparently spread through the field of competitors, their parents, instructors and staff members.

"The first 24 hours, folks are experiencing fever, headache, diarrhea, and vomiting," Ratliff said.

The doors at Studio One School of dance in Winchester remained closed due to the unidentified illness. A sign on the door says, "Everyone is sick and that is not an exaggeration."

The owner of the Owingsville dance studio where the second Kentucky squad is from said around 100 students, parents and instructors there, contracted the virus.

"We are concerned, but nobody has been hospitalized or died," said Ratliff.

He says now they are waiting for a sample to conduct some testing, and determine what they're up against and what they can do to minimize it from spreading.

The Morehead Conference Center is open. A facility spokeswoman said it has been thoroughly cleaned and there have been no new cases of the illness reported there.

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