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Canadian Mountain Bikers Hit by Bacterial Infection

> One suspect? The mud mixed with animal waste.

"It [the waste] gets wet. It gets washed into a puddle. It gets churned up with dirt, which turns into mud, which covers everybody," said Miller.

Suspect No. 2? The ground- water, he said.

"There's been a couple of reports of people stopping and filling up the camelpacks and water bottles at some of the creeks along the way, too," he said, adding race organizers handed out bottled water.

It's difficult to determine what the source of the infection was, said Dr. Eleni Galanis, of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

"Campylobacter lives in the guts of animals and humans," she said, so infections usually stem from contaminated food, water or environmental sources.

Along with testing the creeks where the race occurred, she said all 800 participants will be sent a survey relating to what they ate and drank. They want to find out the cause so it won't happen again, Galanis said.

"It's a very uncomfortable infection," she said. "Things just fly through you basically."

People usually get sick within the first 10 days of exposure, she said, and it is rarely spread from person to person.

"We think that anybody who was to become ill from this race has probably already become ill and it is unlikely that they'll spread it to anybody else," she said.

Monica Anderson said she doesn't know what caused her to get sick, but said she did get very muddy. "I know I ate some [mud] because it was all over my water bottle and on my energy gels that I had taped to my bike," said Anderson.

Now that she's better, she can laugh about it all: "It will be something to remember," she said.


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