More than two dozen more Marine recruits have been sickened in an E. Coli outbreak at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego (MCRD), officials confirmed Wednesday.
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, dozens have gotten better.
Two hundred and fourteen recruits remain ill, officials said. Twelve recruits have been admitted to an off-base medical facility. The other cases are being treated aboard the base.
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.
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.