On the 21st of June 1998 Lake Springfield hosted an Ironhorse Triathlon. The outcome was the largest epidemic of leptospirosis in the nations history. Other lake users also had symptoms. Dr.Donald Graham, head of infectious diseases of the Springfield Clinic believes that all 346 with symptoms  had the disease.

You can read the full article  Troubled Waters from the Illinois Times.

Leptopirosis bacteria is carried in the urine of mammals. The investigation lasted for months and hundreds of animals, both wild and domestic were tested but to no avail.

Highlights from this article are:

Does a microscopic monster lurk in Lake Springfield?

“The medical community was stunned that these people had leptospirosis”

“The strain of leptospira bacteria was so unusual you had to have some unusual mammals causing it,” explains Graham.

“it was not obvious” there were any sewer mains at the sparsely populated end of the lake where most people were contaminated.

Bridgeview Beach, in the branch fed by Sugar Creek, was the site of the triathlon in 1998, and it was the only area of the lake to yield a water sample testing positive for pathogenic leptospira.

Wetlands just before it flows into Lake Springfield and close to several sasquatch reports.

From my reading of several articles about this incident it appears that the final conclusion was:

1. It was a stunning medical event.

2. It was unusual strain of bacteria from an unusual animal.

3. The bacteria was not from sewage.

4. The area of most concern was the Sugar Creek drainage.

–  references to Leptospirosis and Lake Springfield include:

Leptospirosis in Emergency Medicine

Leptospirosis: Background and History of the Disease

Leptospirosis Information Center

Leptospira Molecular Genetics Server!

Leptospirosis – USA (Illinois & Wisconsin)

Outbreak of Leptospirosis among Triathlon Participants and Community Residents in Springfield, Illinois, 1998

Troubled Waters

Update: Leptospirosis and Unexplained Acute Febrile Illness Among Athletes Participating in Triathlons..1998

Z o o n o s e s !

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health the strain of Leptospirosis was Leptospira kirschner serotype grippotyphosa.

So what am I getting at?

Anyone who has been following my posts about Chatham, Illinois this summer knows that there have been several tracks found, rocks being thrown, vocalizations being heard and possible sightings of sasquatch all along Sugar Creek and it’s branches.  How much urine does an 800 lb mammal produce or for that matter a family unit of four or five?

Now I don’t what the source of the  leptospirosis bacteria was back in 1998 but I do agree with Dr. Graham when he said  “you had to have some unusual mammals causing it”.


Was the unknown mammalian carrier of leptospirosis that infected 346 lake users in Lake Springfield in 1998 a Sasquatch / Bigfoot?  Obviously you can not answer a mystery with another mystery but there have been dozens of reports suspected sasquatch activity in Sangamon County and over a dozen in the Sugar Creek area.

The largest outbreak of leptospirosis ever in the continental United States baffled dozens of doctors and scientists and remains to this day without a conclusion. The mammalian host species remains a mystery.  Or is it?

When the Illinois Times article Troubled Waters asks “Does a microscopic monster lurk in Lake Springfield?” my answer would be:

“No, the monster lurks in the woods along the shores of Lake Springfield”