Beach barf: E. coli O157:H7 hospitalizes 3, closes beach in Bemidji, Minn.

There’s a beach closed somewhere every summer day, usually because of high E. coli counts, often linked to some form of sewage. I don’t report on the closings although am sympathetic if it’s your beach.

But when the beach at Diamond Point Park in Bemidji, Minnesota, was closed Thursday, I paid attention, because three swimmers seem to have acquired not the fecal coliform, but the far more dangerous E. coli O157:H7.

The Minnesota Department of Health spokesman Doug Schultz said three people became ill July 12 and July 13 from E. coli, and health officials have now determined that the common link was that all three had visited the beach sometime from July 8-11, adding,

"We would be looking for other possibilities, like food sources. But the common link appeared to be just the fact that they were swimming."

Minnesota Public Radio News reported that all three of those who became ill from the E. coli O157:H7 were hospitalized, and one person developed a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can affect the kidneys and can be fatal.