Three E. coli illnesses have been linked to swimming near Big Island on Lake Minnetonka, the Minnesota Department of Health said Friday.
The affected swimmers were all young adults from the Twin Cities metro who had been swimming and boating in the Big Island area during the July 4 weekend.
One of the swimmers was hospitalized but has since recovered.
The source of the E. coli in the water is unknown. Lakes can be contaminated with the bacteria through animal waste, sewage spills, ill swimmers and improper boat waste disposal.
"This is the first waterborne outbreak of the summer and illustrates why it is so important that people take steps to prevent infection," said MDH waterborne disease expert Trisha Robinson. "If swimmers can follow some basic precautions, hopefully we can prevent more outbreaks at other swimming locations."
LAKE MINNETONKA BEACHES PASS TESTS
All public beaches on Lake Minnetonka remain open and have passed their regular water quality monitoring tests. Those results can be viewed at http://www.hennepin.us/beaches
Symptoms of E. coli illness typically include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools, but little or no fever. People typically become ill two to five days after swimming in contaminated water. Most people recover in five to 10 days.
E. COLI PREVENTION
- Don't swim when you have diarrhea.
- Don't swallow lake water.
- Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing diapers.
- Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often.