Lake Wildwood beaches still closed; no-swim advisory expanded
Water samples recently taken from Lake Wildwood tested positive for a separate strain of E.coli than first reported to have caused illnesses, according to the Nevada County Public Health Department.
“These results indicate that water samples taken from another part of the lake (near to where the Lake Wildwood Creek feeds into Lake Wildwood) tested positive for STEC 0157, but it appears to be unrelated to the outbreak strain,” a news release states. “This means that two strains of a pathogen that can cause serious illness have now been identified in water and sediment samples taken from Lake Wildwood.”
Public health officials said the environmental investigation continues to determine the source of contamination.
“In the meantime, for the purposes of public health and safety,” the release states, “the five public beaches at Lake Wildwood remain closed and the no-swim advisory is expanded to include any primary contact activities that could lead to the ingestion of lake water, such as water skiing.”
In late July, the Public Health Department began receiving reports of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC)-caused illnesses. According to the release, individual reports quickly evolved into an E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak that is associated with Lake Wildwood. As previously reported, there have been 18 cases linked to this outbreak, 10 of whom were hospitalized, and four of whom developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. The syndrome is a severe, potentially life-threatening condition with anemia and kidney complications that can last throughout adulthood.
In August and early September, Nevada County reported on elevated levels of fecal coliforms in the water of Lake Wildwood.
In addition to the testing being done by the Nevada County Environmental Health Department, water and sediment samples were taken and sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more advanced testing to determine if a disease-associated STEC was present.
CDC’s test results indicate that STEC O157, a potentially deadly pathogen, was identified both in the water at Meadow Park and in the submerged sediment at Commodore Beach. Their testing also showed that the STEC carried genetic markers from geese.
In addition, STEC was isolated from a sample of goose scat near Meadow Park.
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