Bacteria levels in Lake Anna, Virginia are safe. said; The cause of the E. coli is clear

Lake Anna tests show the water meets criteria for safe swimming, Virginia public health officials said Friday, after at least 25 people were diagnosed with E. coli infections after visits last month to this popular leisure spot.

Results from samples taken this week show that “all fecal bacteria concentrations were well below a level of public health concern,” officials said in a news release Friday evening. They also said there is no evidence that contaminated food is causing these illnesses.

Officials said they may never be able to identify the source of the epidemic.

Environmental pollutants from “heavy rains, livestock, failing septic systems, discharges from boats and swimmers” are potential sources of illness in waters like Lake Anna, officials said in the release, warning against swimming where livestock are present.

The statement said 25 people, mostly minors, were infected, an increase of five cases since Tuesday. Five children were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication of E. coli infection often treated with blood transfusion and dialysis.

Parents of sick children are still demanding answers, including Judy Inglett, whose 15-year-old daughter, Ava, was released Friday after 10 days in the hospital.

“Someone has to be responsible for this,” Judy Inglett said.

Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, is spread through water or food contaminated with animal or human feces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of infection with a harmful strain of E.coli include stomach cramps, often watery or bloody diarrhea, vomiting, fever and chills.

The health department has created an outbreak website with updates on the ongoing investigation and guidance directing health care providers to maintain a low threshold for testing anyone with diarrhea who was at the lake Anna on or after Memorial Day. They should contact their local health department to arrange testing through the state lab, officials said.

Authorities reiterated calls to take regular safety precautions when swimming in lakes. Never drink untreated water or swim with open cuts; avoid swimming if you have vomiting or diarrhea; take a shower after swimming to wash away germs; And wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food, public health officials said.

Children under 5, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions are at higher risk of contracting illnesses in open waters, which are likely to contain bacteria because they are not disinfected as would be swimming pool water.

“It should be noted that exposure to any natural water, including ingesting untreated water or swimming with open wounds, poses a possible health risk, even when sample results indicate that the water is “safe” for swimming,” says the Ministry of Health website.

Staff of The Department of Environmental Quality collected six samples from three areas of the lake on Tuesday to test for E. coli concentrations. coli. Samples were collected from the sandbar near the confluence of Goldmine Creek, the water adjacent to the state park, and the Cocktail Cove sandbar.

An additional round of testing has been added and samples will be collected Monday and again on June 25, Health Department spokesman Larry Hill said.

Many people who fell ill recently reported wading through waist-deep water on the sandbar, which can become crowded during weekends and summer holidays.

Lake Anna State Park includes approximately 10 miles of shoreline along Lake Anna, a 13,000-acre reservoir in the center of a triangle formed by Charlottesville, Fredericksburg and Richmond.

The 15-mile-long reservoir was created in the early 1970s by the company now called Dominion Energy to provide recreation and a cooling pond for the North Anna Nuclear Generating Station.

The cool side is about 9,400 acres and is open to the public, while the warm or private side, including the thermal waste treatment facility, is about 3,400 acres, according to the Lake Anna Civic Association.

The vast lake, bordered by Louisa County to the south, Orange County to the northwest and Spotsylvania to the north, is known for harmful algal blooms, but officials say algae activity has been normal at this time of year and is not linked to the last ones. wave of E. coli infections.

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