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Illnesses prompt thorough cleaning of Ottertail resort

An outbreak of illness prompted a central Minnesota resort to voluntarily close its doors for a cleaning.

An undetermined number of people became ill with what is believed to be a norovirus, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Most of those who became ill appear to have come into contact with the virus in the swimming pool-water park area of Thumper Pond Resort and Restaurant.

Flu-like symptoms were reported following New Year's weekend, when there were large groups in the pool and water park almost constantly. A few illnesses reported earlier in December may also be linked.

Thumper Pond management temporarily shut down the resort on Tuesday. The resort was scheduled to re-open this week.

The property underwent a deep cleaning based on exacting guidelines set by the Minnesota Department of Health, established to eradicate the virus.

"We are not taking any chances of allowing the virus to spread further and are therefore closing the property to allow for a thorough cleaning of the entire facility," said Bill Schultz, vice president of Thumper Pond's management company, Madison Hospitality Group. "The Minnesota Department of Health has been very supportive."

Because the investigation is ongoing, the exact number of cases involved is not available. However, MDH has received a number of complaints of norovirus-like illnesses linked to the facility, from Dec. 19 through New Year's Eve, according to Doug Schultz, Department of Health spokesman.