Esoteric Festival 2024 Attendees Hit with an Unusual Gastro Outbreak

Esoteric Festival - Photo Courtesy of Esoteric Festival Website

During Esoteric Festival 2024, attendees were exposed to gastroenteritis symptoms with around 120 cases confirmed. The festival took place from March 8th–12th in the town of Donald, in Victoria, Australia.

Esoteric Festival 2024 takes an unfortunate turn

Esoteric Festival organizers alongside the local public health unit and the Victorian Department of Health are urging attendees to get tested for Shigella immediately. The dance festival, which reported 120 attendees with gastroenteritis symptoms. A number of these cases were confirmed as Shigella which causes sudden abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting.

Causes of the Esoteric Festival outbreak

Preliminary results done by health authorities have shown that the outbreak was caused by an antimicrobial resistant strain of Shigella which doesn’t respond to antibiotics. This highly contagious infection can be spread by contaminated food or water.

A Victorian health department spokesperson stated that those who attended or worked at Esoteric Festival 2024, and have gastro symptoms, may have Shigella and be at risk of spreading it. Staying home for 48 hours from the last symptom occurrence is advised.  

Impact on Esoteric Festival attendees

Dr Rebekah Hoffman, who is the chairperson of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, commented that Shigella was ‘really uncommon’ in Australia. The disease is usually viral but if a large group of people who don’t have the best hand hygiene are placed together, it’s more likely to spread. Attendees will have symptoms for a week but could feel poor for a few weeks. It is encouraged to stay hydrated and practice good hand hygiene.

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Written by Juliana Zammit

Juliana is a Bachelor student studying Journalism, and photography. Allowing her to narrate stories through text and images.

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