Iceland Mag

6 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


176 scouts evacuated and campsite closed down after unidentified poisoning

By Staff

  • Medical evacuation Yesterday's evacuation is the largest in history in South Iceland. Photo/Jóhann K. Jóhansson

The campsite at Úlfjótsvatn lake, south of Þingvallavatn lake in South Iceland, has been closed down while health authorities investigate the source of a poisoning which led to dozens of scouts falling ill yesterday. At least 62 scouts who were staying at the campsite have shown signs of an yet unidentified poisoning or sickness. Authorities suspect the scouts were infected by a norovirus. 

Most are foreign nationals, aged 10-25

Scouts, evacuation

At the scene The scouts were evacuated late last night. Photo/Jóhann K Jóhansson

The group, which is primarily made up of foreign nationals aged 10-25, was staying at Úlfljótsvatn campsite, which is operated by the Icelandic scouting organization. A total of 176 scouts were staying at the camp, and a further 20 were scheduled to arrive today. All scouts who were staying at the site were evacuated to a emergency shelter in the town of Hveragerði in South Iceland, while those who were scheduled to arrive today will stay at a campsite in the outskirts of Reykjavík.

Health authorities in South Iceland determined it was safest to evacuate the scouts to an emergency shelter to ensure that the infection would not spread further. Three of the 62 who have shown signs of infection were taken to hospital in the town of Selfoss. According to the sources of the local news site Vísir the infection appears to be caused by a norovirus.

Largest medical evacuation ever in S. Iceland

Scouts, August 2 moot

At the August 2 opening event of the moot Thousands of scouts attended the opening ceremony. Photo/Vilhelm

According th public health officials this is probably the largest case of a norovirus infection in Iceland. All available healthcare staff in South Iceland participated in the evacuation of the scouts from Úlfljótsvatn, making it the largest medical evacuation in South Iceland. The evacuated scouts were split into two groups, those who showed signs of an infection and those who did not. Officials hope they will be able to contain the infection by keeping those believed to be infected isolated for four days.

The source of the infection is unknwon, but one scout who was attending a scout moot which took place at Úlfljótsvatn earlier this month reportedly showed signs of a norovirus infection. Public health officials suspect this might be the source of the infection. To ensure the infection does not spread any further the campsite will be closed for several days while it is cleaned and disinfected.


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