E. coli O157 toll up to 11 at Pennsylvania park lake

There are now 11 confirmed and two probable E. coli infections linked to the outbreak at Cowans Gap State Park, and most of the afflicted were in the lake on the same weekend.

Pennsylvania Department of Health spokesperson Christine Cronkright released the updated numbers Thursday. Nine of the confirmed E. coli O157:H7 cases involved people from Pennsylvania, and two are from Maryland. All but one of the sick people are children.

In the weeks since her son contracted E. coli O157, Melanie Royer has been a mother on a mission to encourage illness reporting and the closure of the lake at Cowans Gap State Park.

Royer is thankful the lake was closed as a precaution because she watched the bacteria ravage her 12-year-old son’s body.

"This whole thing is so scary because you’re helpless as a parent," she said.

She encourages people with suspected E. coli cases to not only seek medical attention, but also ensure their cases are being reported to the state health department.

Royer criticized the delay between when children were being diagnosed and when the lake closed.