Days after an E. Coli outbreak at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego (MCRD), 86 recruits remain sickened, 19 of which recently fell ill, officials confirmed Thursday in an update.
The E. Coli exposure affects both MCRD San Diego and the command field's training facilities at Edson Range on Camp Pendleton.
The outbreak was first announced Monday when diarrheal illness sickened more than 300 Marine recruits, an MCRD spokesperson said. More than 5,500 recruits are in training.
Since then, hundreds have gotten better.
Eighty-six recruits remain symptomatic with the diarrheal illness, authorities said. Nineteen of those are new cases.
"The command is continuing to take precautionary measures and care for those who are affected," said Brig. Gen. William Jurney, commanding general, MCRD San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region, in a statement.
Sixteen recruits have been admitted to an off-base medical facility. The other cases are being treated aboard the base.
On Friday, more than 500 Marines from Hotel Company will graduate from recruit training. As an added precaution, new Marines who previously showed symptoms of the bacteria will remain aboard the installation for continued observation.
An investigation is underway to determine the source of the E. Coli bacteria. Some of the cases are infected with the Shiga toxin causing E. Coli bacteria.
“We are working to identify the cause of the sickness, making sure our affected recruits can return to training as soon as possible and continuing training for recruits not influenced," added Jurney.
While the command searches for the source of the outbreak, they will implement the following preventative actions:
- Recruits with E. Coli symptoms will be isolated to prevent spreading the sickness to their peers.
- There will be increased hygiene requirements with an emphasis on handwashing.
- MCRD San Diego will undergo extensive cleaning to ensure proper sanitization.
- Naval Medical Center San Diego's Preventative Medicine Unit will inspect barracks, chow halls and common areas.
- Recruits will receive guidance on how to identify symptoms.
The MCRD will notify families if the outbreak affects a recruit's graduation date due to missed training, if the recruit is to remain aboard the installation or if their recruit is hospitalized.
Officials will provide additional updates to keep families informed on Twitter until the outbreak subsides.