September 21, 2019

Now 69 Sick With E. coli After Swimming at Lake Nokomis

Now 69 people have been diagnosed with E. coli infections after swimming at Minneapolis’s Lake Nokomis, according to news reports. That’s an increase of 20 more cases since the last report by the Minnesota Department of Health on August 16, 2019.

Now 69 Sick With E. coli After Swimming at Lake Nokomis

Minnesota officials did say they thought the case count would increase because when they released information about this outbreak, more people would recognize their symptoms, see a doctor, and be tested for the pathogen. E. coli is a reportable illness.

All of the patients got sick after they swam at the lake between July 16 and August 11, 2019. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board said that the Lake Nokomis beaches will be closed for the rest of the season.

In addition, nearby Wirth Beach has had to close. That is the fourth time in seven years that beach has had a late closure. The cause of the contamination in that case is thought to be from geese and waterfowl poop.

Minneapolis Park and Recreation, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Health, is asking that anyone who visited Lake Nokomis this season, whether or not they got sick, to complete a brief online survey. A statement on the Park and Recreation website says that the reported illnesses were most likely introduced into the water by an ill swimmer. The statement also says that this type of contamination is unlikely to be detected during routine beach monitoring.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection are stark and severe. Most people may have a mild fever, accompanied by vomiting, serious and very painful abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that is typically bloody and/or watery. This infection can progress to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that can be deadly.

No reports of HUS have been announced by any public health officials in Minnesota. None of the patients in this outbreak have been hospitalized.

 

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