The outbreak exposure has affected both the MCRD San Diego and the command field’s training areas at Edson Range at Camp Pendleton, NBC San Diego reports.
The E. Coli outbreak was first announced on Monday when diarrhea struck over 300 Marine recruits, said an MCRD spokesperson. There are more than 5,500 recruits currently in training.
Since then, dozens of the sick trainees have been treated and have recovered. However, 214 recruits remain ill, officials added. The other victims of the outbreak are being treated at the base.
An investigation is ongoing to determine what caused the spread, and where the E. Coli bacteria came from. Some of the patients have been infected with the Shiga toxin, which caused the illness.
Brig. Gen. William Jurney, commanding general of MCRD San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region, said,
Our immediate focus is identifying, isolating and treating recruits who present symptoms.
Last week, there were a limited number of cases reported. The number suddenly jumped on Monday. Jurney added, “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.”
While the investigation is underway, officials have implemented several steps to prevent the outbreak from worsening, including isolating recruits who show symptoms, stricter hygiene requirements with an emphasis on handwashing, extensive cleaning and sanitizing of the facilities, orientation on how to identify symptoms for trainees, and inspection of all barracks, mess halls and common areas.
In addition, the MCRD will notify families if the outbreak affects a recruit’s graduation date because of missed training days. Additional updates will be made via Twitter in order to keep the recruits’ families and loved ones informed.