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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
June 21, 2000

Public Health Aspects of the Rainbow Family of Living Light Annual Gathering—Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania, 1999

JAMA. 2000;283(23):3065-3066. doi:10.1001/jama.283.23.3065-JWR0621-4-1

MMWR. 2000;49:324-326

The Rainbow Family of Living Light (RFLL) is a loosely organized group that developed out of the late 1960s counterculture movement. RFLL has had a 2-week "Gathering for World Peace and the Healing of the Earth" in a different national forest each summer since 1972. For the June 21-July 10, 1999, gathering, RFLL selected the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. The site was not accessible by vehicle and was an hour's walk to the nearest road. No sanitary facilities were available, and water from streams was consumed without treatment. Approximately 20,000 persons attended from the United States and several foreign countries. The state health department requested federal assistance to establish and maintain public health surveillance and to advise on outbreak prevention and control. This report describes the public health aspects of the gathering and presents recommendations for the management of health risks at large outdoor events.

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