Health Care

Possible E. coli outbreak closes Nevada County beach

Possible E. coli outbreak closes Nevada County beach”

According to the Nevada County Public Health Department, five children have gotten sick - three of them testing positive for E. coli. "However, some E. coli are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness, either diarrhea or illness outside of the intestinal tract".

Test results received Saturday showed elevated fecal coliforms, which are bacteria that can cause serious illnesses, in shallow water near the Community Center Pool Beach, where the affected individuals had been swimming.

The Nevada County Environmental Health Department is now testing water samples from different locations around the lake.

Since 2011, Cutler said, between one and six cases of E. coli-related illness per year have been reported in Nevada County.

Three other kids have been treated for E. coli as well. The Community Beach Center closed down Friday because the department believed it might be linked to the infections. The popular swimming area has since been shut down, according to Fox 40. NCPHD emphasized that this is most critical for more vulnerable populations including young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems. The county says all of them had been swimming at Lake Wildwood Beach near Grass Valley.

While a contamination source has yet to be determined, wildlife droppings could be a potential origin. The Environmental Health Department is expected to have more information Wednesday.

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Wastewater treatment systems at the lake have been inspected by the Public Works Department and are functioning properly.

The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting and sometimes fever.

Dunn feels like both the homeowners association and the county could have done more to prevent this: "Alert residents, posting more signs on beaches, maybe caution don't swim", Dunn said.

"We all have many different types of E. coli in our gut, most of which don't harm us", said Ken Cutler, a doctor and public health officer with the Public Health Department.

"If there are complications such as dehydration or anemia, timely treatment can make a significant difference in your recovery".

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