More than 300 Marine recruits have been exposed in an E. Coli outbreak at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego (MCRD), confirmed officials Tuesday.
There are reports of E. Coli exposure at both MCRD San Diego and the command field's training facilities at Edson Range on Camp Pendleton.
As of Oct. 31, diarrheal illness has sickened several hundred out of 5,500 recruits currently training, an MCRD spokesperson said. 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.
“Our immediate focus is identifying, isolating and treating recruits who present symptoms,” said Brig. Gen. William Jurney, commanding general of MCRD San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region, in a statement.
In the past week, there were limited cases reported, said the spokesperson. However, the number of cases spiked notably on Monday.
“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.
Ten recruits are currently hospitalized at an off-base medical facility, said the spokesperson. The other cases are being treated aboard the base.
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.
Officials will provide additional updates to keep families informed on Twitter until the outbreak subsides.