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Hundreds Sickened At San Diego Marine Corps Depot, Some With E. Coli

Female recruits stand at the Marine Corps Training Depot on Parris Island, S....

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Female recruits stand at the Marine Corps Training Depot on Parris Island, S.C., Feb. 21, 2013.

An outbreak of diarrheal illnesses, including cases of E. coli infection, has sickened about 300 Marines-in-training at Marine Corps Depot San Diego along with some personnel at Camp Pendleton over the last week, base officials announced Tuesday.

Among the patients, 10 were admitted to an off-base hospital, and the remainder were being cared for at military medical facilities.

Normal training regimens are continuing as scheduled at the 5,500- recruit military training station adjacent to Lindbergh Field, according to the base's public-affairs office. The source of the outbreak is under investigation.

"Our immediate focus is identifying, isolating and treating recruits who present symptoms," said Brig. Gen. William Jurney, commanding general of MCRD San Diego. "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."

The rash of illnesses, including some at a training facility on the grounds of Camp Pendleton, began six days ago, with a spike in cases reported Monday, according to Marine Corps officials.

USMC officials have instituted the following preventative actions in response to the infections:

–Separation and treatment protocols isolating recruits with symptoms and limiting interaction with unaffected recruits.

–Increased hygiene requirements, focusing particularly on hand washing.

–Enhanced cleaning to ensure proper sanitation and hygiene in all areas.

–Increased inspections of barracks, cafeterias and common areas by the Naval Medical Center San Diego Preventative Medicine Unit.

–Dissemination of guidance on identifying symptoms to allow for proactive and prompt treatment for potential patients.

Family members will be contacted by the command if a recruit's graduation date changes due to missed training resulting from sickness, base officials said.

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