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Many report illness at Wash. cheerleading event

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – Washington state health officials said Tuesday they are investigating reports of intestinal illness affecting at least 19 squads that participated in a weekend state cheerleading tournament in Everett.

Reported symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, state Health Department spokesman Donn Moyer said.

KOMO-TV reported that several people have been hospitalized but their conditions were unknown. Moyer said he had not heard of any hospitalizations “but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.”

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association hosted Saturday’s competition at Comcast Arena. More than 3,000 people attended and more than 1,000 people in 52 squads competed in cheerleading, dance and drill events, the association said.

The first symptoms developed Sunday and Monday, the Health Department said.

State health officials were working with the Snohomish Health District and the athletics association to determine the cause of the illnesses, Moyer said. Surveys were being sent to participants and samples were being collected for testing.

Intestinal illnesses can be caused by several viruses and bacteria that may come from a variety of sources, the Health Department said. Anyone with severe symptoms should see a health care provider, Moyer said.

There have been reports of students suffering symptoms at Puget Sound-area high schools including Marysville, Ballard, Juanita, Mount Si and Skyline, KOMO reported.

Students from Pierce and Kitsap counties may also have become ill, Snohomish Health District spokeswoman Suzanne Pate told The Daily Herald of Everett.

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