ALTON, Va. – (WFXR) — Virginia Department of Health is investigating after attendees of the Blue Ridge Rock Festival say they experienced gastrointestinal issues after the weekend.
“There’s discoloration, there’s all sorts of stuff,” said Andy Petite, who traveled from Massachusetts to attend the festival in early September. “I’m 172 pounds right now which is 13 pounds less than I was at the age of 13.”
He also says he experienced nausea and diarrhea. Petit works in healthcare, so when he started having symptoms, his colleagues were quick to get him out the door.
“Our nurse practitioner said Andy you need to go immediately to employee health and tell them you may have ingested parasitics or been introduced to one at least,” he recalled. Petit says he returned to work for the first time Sunday Sept. 24.
He says his friends who drank bottled water felt fine after the festival, but he and three friends who drank from the water stations all allegedly fell ill.
“The symptoms were all relatively the same,” he said.
VDH’s survey asks whether attendees filled water bottles at the festival, used handwashing stations, or ate vendor food. It also asks if attendees went in or near the Dan River.
Petit camped at the festival and witnessed the destructive rain and hail Thursday.
“The camps, they were completely soaked and with the porta potties overflowing with water we were all literally traipsing around poop,” he said.
Petit shared proof of his medical treatment, showing he was tested for parasites and received a prescription for a parasitic infection.
He says he and his doctor believe he may have been exposed to giardia, but his tests were negative by the time he sought care.
“Still unsure what the actual diagnosis is, so it’s a little concerning but I was cleared to return to work,” he said. “Yesterday or last night actually was the first time I was cleared to return to work since the festival.”
For more information, visit https://redcap.vdh.virginia.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=E4E7YK449W3HMNAX