After a Tough Mudder event, a number of participants get strange rashes and Fever in California

Health officials in California have issued a warning after some persons who participated in last weekend’s Tough Mudder marathon and obstacle course competition fell ill with mysterious illnesses.

Multiple reports of rashes, fever, muscle discomfort, nausea, and vomiting were filed with the Sonoma County Department of Health Services (SDHS) by people who attended the event on August 19 and 20 at the Sonoma Raceway, an automobile racetrack 30 miles north of San Francisco.

Participants in the Tough Mudder race were covered from head to toe in mud. In most cases, people experience a pustular rash, high temperature, muscle aches, and a headache.

Tough mudder

The SDHS suggests that the symptoms are due to “a minor illness called Swimmer’s Itch,” also known as cercarial dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction to certain minute parasites.

Some avian and animal species are hosts for the parasites. Larvae that hatch from these eggs in water can infect specific kinds of aquatic snails, which then release even smaller larvae that can burrow into human skin and cause symptoms like rashes.

The SDHS, however, has speculated that staph infections or even more severe infections caused by the bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila may be at play here.

According to the Mayo Clinic, staphylococcus bacteria produce only mild skin infections, but if the germs enter the bloodstream and spread to the bones, heart, or lungs, the infection can become life-threatening.

However, Aeromonas hydrophila is more commonly found in fresh water or sewage, and although it rarely infects humans, those instances have been linked to diarrhea, kidney disease, hemolytic uremic syndrome (which occurs when the kidneys’ small blood vessels become damaged and inflamed, potentially leading to kidney failure), meningitis, and sepsis.

Please consult your doctor or the emergency room if you or anybody else who ran in the race develops a rash, fever, or other symptoms afterward. This Advisory is something you might want to keep with you. According to the SDHS health alert, the incubation period is between 12 and 48 hours.

ABC News sought comment from the SDHS and the Tough Mudder event’s organizers, but neither party provided a prompt response.

Nicole Villagran, who took part in the Tough Mudder, said on a local ABC affiliate station that she did not finish the course but still had bumps on her body the next day.

The next morning you look at your arm and wonder, “What the heck is this?” What the heck is going on, she exclaimed. It’s on both of your arms, by the way. That’s where I dug and did army crawls, and that’s where I pushed off, on the insides of my knees.

Twelve of the thirteen people Curtis Vollmar did the Tough Mudder with also experienced the symptoms, albeit they are gradually disappearing, he told KGO TV.

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