Tough Mudder Participants in NorCal Contract Bacterial Infection

Sonoma County health authorities are actively investigating a bacterial infection that roughly two dozen individuals have reported contracting on their skin following the Tough Mudder Sonoma County challenge over the weekend.

Held at the Sonoma Raceway on August 19 and 20, the Tough Mudder challenge involved participants navigating mud, water, and obstacles like barbed wire fences. Those who engaged in the event shared on social media that they developed an infection post-event, characterized by red rashes, pus, fever, and body discomfort.

“Red spots appeared anywhere on my body that touched the ground,” said Chris Palakos, who participated in the event.

Dr. Karen Smith, Sonoma County’s interim health officer, informed KTVU that the agency had received reports from at least 22 individuals about rashes. The preliminary assumption is that these people likely contracted a bacterial infection named aeromonas. This bacterium resides in water and is typically contracted through open wounds.

“If you attended this event and you have a rash, fever, aches, we want you to go see your doctor,” said Smith.

One patient, upon visiting an infectious disease specialist, had a sample that tested positive for the aeromonas bacteria. Smith advised that individuals with symptoms should have their physicians conduct a culture sample, which should be sent to a lab for confirmation. This precaution is crucial as doctors might initially mistake the rash for a staph infection or swimmer’s itch.

While the Sonoma County Health Department had received reports from only 22 people as of Wednesday, they suspect that many more might be affected. Chris Palakos mentioned being part of an email thread with at least 350 individuals discussing the issue.

An email from Tough Mudder officials to the participants said they are aware of “an adverse health reaction” and are conducting an investigation.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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