Skyline cheerleaders sickened after Everett competition
February 7, 2012
By Tom Corrigan
NEW — 8:35 p.m. Feb. 7, 2012
Skyline High School cheerleaders brought home a championship at a recent competition held in Everett.
They also may have brought back an as-yet-unidentified health problem.
State health officials say they are investigating a possible intestinal illness among attendees at a cheerleading competition held at Everett’s Comcast Arena on Feb. 4. Symptoms began to appear Feb. 5 and 6. They include vomiting and diarrhea, according to a state press release.
Skyline cheerleaders began reporting symptoms the evening of Feb. 5, said Sara Niegowski, Issaquah School District executive director of communications, in an email. In total, eight cheerleaders have been out sick, Niegowski added. The Skyline ill also include Principal Lisa Hechtman and one assistant coach. Hechtman attended the cheerleading event, Niegowski said.
The state Health Department is working closely with the Snohomish Health District on the investigation, according to a state press release. The cause and source of the illness, as well as the total number of people sickened, are unknown, the state added. Teams and supporters from around the state participated in the event.
State health officials described the investigation as in the early stages. That investigation includes sending a questionnaire to participants as well as collecting samples for testing at the state Public Health Laboratories. People who attended the event and develop severe symptoms are urged to contact a health care provider.
According to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, which hosted the event, more than 3,000 people were in attendance, with more than 1,000 competing.
“Our immediate concerns are for those who have been affected by this illness and our thoughts are with them,” WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. “The WIAA appreciates the cooperation of Comcast Arena and of state and local health partners for addressing the entire scope of this situation.”
Intestinal illnesses can be caused by several viruses and bacteria that may come from a wide variety of sources, according to information released by state health officials. Intestinal symptoms typically include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and may include headaches, stomach cramps and fever. As with many illnesses, good personal hygiene such as frequent hand washing is important in preventing the spread of disease.