June 17, 2024

E. coli Outbreak at Lake Anna in Virginia on Memorial Weekend

An E. coli outbreak at Lake Anna in Richmond, Virginia over the Memorial Day weekend has sickened people, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). The number of patients has not been released, only that VDH has received “numerous reports of GI illnesses, mainly in children.” Some of the patients have been hospitalized and diagnosed with E. coli infections.

E. coli Outbreak at Lake Anna in Virginia on Memorial Weekend

All potential causes of these illnesses, including food and lake water, are being investigated. The symptoms that patients are experiencing include vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody or watery, fever, and chills. In severe cases, the infection can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. The notice did not confirm that anyone is suffering from HUS.

Rappahannock Health District Health Director Olugbenga O. Obasanjo, MD, said in a statement, ‘We hope that those hospitalized continue to recover and can return home to their families soon. This is an ongoing investigation with the health department, and we will likely continue to learn about the situation in the coming days.”

All of the patients did swim or undertake other water exposures in Lake Anna. There is not enough information at the time to confirm that exposure to the lake is the cause of these illnesses. Water testing is being conducted.

The illnesses are not suspected as Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) related. E. coli bacteria are not associated with these microscopic plants. There is no ongoing HAB event at that lake, but there are indications of algae activity that are typical for summer.

And there is not enough information to support a swimming advisory. But the health department does encourage caution when swimming.

Dr. Obasanjo added, “As we head to pools, lakes, and beaches to enjoy the warmer weather and spend time with our families, it is important to remember to take precautions to prevent illness. Showering before and after swimming, washing your hands before eating, and being sure not to drink the lake water are some of the ways to stay healthy this summer. It is also important not to swim if you have diarrhea. Children may need extra monitoring and reminders to follow these precautions.”

The notice added to avoid swimming for three days after a heavy rain, and to properly dispose of human waste by discharging boat sewage at marinas with a pump-out unit or dump station. Avoid swimming near storm drains. And don’t go in the water if there is a green film on the surface.

If you were at Lake Anna and you or anyone in your family has been sick with the symptoms of an E. coli infection or HUS, see your doctor. You may be part of this E. coli outbreak at Lake Anna.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm If you have been sickened with a food poisoning infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors.

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