Lansing, Mich. (WZZM/Free Press) The numbers of those sickened at last weekend's Tough Mudder contest at Michigan International Speedway continue to climb - filling up the voice mail box at the Lenawee County health department and sending staff scrambling to set up a hot line for anyone who attended the event.
As of Friday afternoon, state health officials say more than 200 people have contacted the state to complain about symptoms likely caused by the norovirus.
Officials want to hear from both those who were sickened and those who weren't.
"We want to hear from anybody who was a participant, spectator or a worker. ... If we know what the sick people participated in and what the well people participated in, we might be able to rule something out," said Lenawee County Health Officer Patsy Bourgeois.
The new hot line, 517-264-5215, offers information about the suspected outbreak. It also asks callers to leave information so that health officials can send them an on-line survey about their experience.
Health officials suspect the highly contagious Norovirus may have sickened those who competed in or attended the contest at MIS in Brooklyn, Mich., June 29-30. The virus, the most common cause of food-borne illness, is spread by an infected person, in contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
Norovirus causes an inflammation of the stomach and intestines and each year sickens about 21 million in the United States, contributing to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths, according to the CDC.
Bourgeois said it's unclear whether anyone at MIS was hospitalized, though she said she has heard reports than some may have been treated at emergency rooms or urgent care offices.
Tough Mudder events involve lengthy "hard core" obstacle courses designed "to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie," according to the Tough Mudder website.
But that could mean contact with bodily fluids on the obstacle course, health officials said.
Mudder officials have been working with state health officials to determine the cause of the suspected virus contamination, said Angela Minicuci, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Results of stool samples sent to the state lab most likely will be available next week, Minicuci said
For more information, visit, the Lenawee County health department web page or an information page by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.