Garfield County (CO) health officials are investigating several dozen calls from people who became ill after the Rifle Rodeo at the Garfield County Fairgrounds on Monday, June 5.

The calls from citizens were concerning gastrointestinal complaints to include nausea, cramping and diarrhea.

Colorado counties map/David Benbennick
Colorado counties map/David Benbennick

“It appears that people became ill approximately six hours following the end of the rodeo event Monday night,” said Billy Harkins, Environmental Health Specialist with the Garfield County Consumer Protection Program. “We are still investigating the cause of the outbreak, and are taking all possible factors into consideration. The total number of individuals who became ill and the duration of their illness has not been confirmed.” Garfield County officials are working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to determine the cause of the illness.

However, based upon factors like the short onset and short duration of the illnesses,  it has been determined the reported illnesses did NOT develop from a waterborne issue, an airborne issue, E.coli, salmonella, Hepatitis A, or anything transferred person to person.

Samples have, and are being sent to a state lab for testing. Public Health staff hopes to receive data next week, but this depends on the number of investigations of both ill and well people that staff is still in the process of conducting.

To pinpoint the source of the outbreak, Garfield County is attempting to contact individuals with and without symptoms who attended the Rifle Rodeo at the Garfield County Fairgrounds on Monday, June 5. Individuals are asked to leave a phone message for a county staff person to return their call at 970-625-5200, ext. 8128, with phone contact information. A public health representative will return the call to complete a brief questionnaire that will help to track down the source of the outbreak.