Norovirus from swimming in a lake

In July, 2014 a norovirus outbreak linked to a lake near Portland, Oregon sickened 70 people. Those who swam in the lake were 2.3 times more likely to develop vomiting or diarrhea than those who visited the park but didn’t go in the water.

kids.cottage.00More than half of those who got ill were children between 4–10 years old. Experts believe the outbreak began after a swimmer infected with norovirus had diarrhea or vomited in the water and other swimmers swallowed the contaminated water. To prevent other people from getting sick, park officials closed the lake to swimmers for 10 days.

“Children are prime targets for norovirus and other germs that can live in lakes and swimming pools because they’re so much more likely to get the water in their mouths,” said Michael Beach, Ph.D, CDC’s associate director for healthy water. “Keeping germs out of the water in the first place is key to keeping everyone healthy and helping to keep the places we swim open all summer.”

 Norovirus Outbreak Associated with a Natural Lake Used for Recreation — Oregon, 2014


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Amy Zlot, MPH, Maayan Simckes, MPH, Jennifer Vines, MD, Laura Reynolds, MPH, Amy Sullivan PhD, Magdalena Kendall Scott, MPH, J. Michael McLuckie, Dan Kromer, MPA, Vincent R. Hill, PhD, Jonathan S. Yoder, MPH, Michele C. Hlavsa, MPH


Two kids fighting E. coli infection after separately visiting Oklahoma lake

A weekend at the lake may be to blame for sending two Green Country children to the hospital.

The health department says it hasn’t found evidence the bacteria was related to lake exposure, however the two families, who were not at the lake together, say the water is the only common denominator.

Four-year-old Kilee King is feeling better. She’s back to being silly with her big brother and their friend–a far cry from how she felt a few weeks ago.

On August 7, two days after the family spent the weekend at Blue Bill Point campground on Fort Gibson lake, she was not feeling well, at all.

“She was crying and holding her stomach and she couldn’t really stand up all the way. she was just kind of folded over,” said Kilee’s mom, Tara Pope. “She’s usually a trooper, but that kind of pain, I knew something serious was going on.”

Kilee had to be rushed to a Tulsa hospital.

“It was the scariest moment of my life,” Pope said.

Kilee stayed overnight and was diagnosed the next day.

“They confirmed it was shiga toxin producing E. coli,” Pope said.

Eldon Yoder, 9, was at the lake with his family that same weekend as Kilee, though the two families weren’t there together.

Eldon’s aunt said he’s fighting the same strain of E. coli, only it’s hit him much harder. His aunt said Eldon developed a potentially life-threatening complication, causing his kidneys to shut down.

Eldon has spent the past two weeks in the hospital on life support and dialysis. Thursday night, relatives said the machines had been turned off and he’s doing better, though they said there’s no guarantee that Eldon won’t need dialysis again. – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – |

Here’s a brochure; that should prevent E. coli O157:H7 from making swimmers sick

In Aug. 2011, Terry Brady, a spokesperson with Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said that the lake at Cowan’s Gap State Park remained open, despite links to three cases of E. coli O157. “The beaches are open and actually there was a good turnout today. A link to the park has not been established."

The lake was closed the next day. Eighteen people, primarily kids, were stricken with E. coli O157:H7; 10 were hospitalized. An additional 24 people were classified as suspected cases.

Swimming can be risky.

Public Opinion reports today that Cowan’s Gap State Park beach will reopen May 5, and officials will be handing out a fact sheet urging swimmers to take precautions against germs that can contaminate lakes and pools. The source of the bacterial outbreak that sickened 14 people in July and August remains a mystery, but state officials suspect poopy pants may be the culprit.

"If people aren’t careful, there are chances it would happen again," Mary Lorah, regional park manager with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. "Our goal is to make them aware of steps they can take with their young children to prevent it."

DCNR spokesman Terry Brady, the same one, said, "It’s not unusual for people to leave thoughtfulness and cleanliness at home and not bring them to the state parks.”

The park also has encased its wells that provide drinking water to visitors, according to Brady. During the E. coli investigation, authorities discovered that a well at the park was contaminated with a different E. coli strain. They suspect the well was tainted with runoff from heavy rains. The well was not fingered as the cause of the outbreak because the park’s well water is chlorinated before it is sent to taps.

Don’t swim in poop: outbreak of E. coli O157 associated with lake swimming at a Pennsylvania State Park

In Aug. 2011, Terry Brady, a spokesperson with Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said that the lake at Cowans Gap State Park remained open, despite links to three cases of E. coli O157. “The beaches are open and actually there was a good turnout today. A link to the park has not been established."

The lake was closed the next day. Eighteen people, primarily kids, were identified with E. coli O157:H7; 10 were hospitalized. An additional 24 people were classified as suspected cases.

Swimming can be risky.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has issued a report Cowan’s Gap E. coli outbreak. Excerpts below:

On Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) was notified by an infection preventionist at a local hospital of two children with HUS who had both reported recent visits to the same Pennsylvania State Park. One of these patients also tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. By Friday, Aug. 5, there were additional reports of E. coli in persons with exposure to the state park and its beach area.

After initial notification, the Department of Health contacted the Bureau of State Parks in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Several hypotheses were initially posed as explanations for this E. coli cluster: coincidence (this is a large lake with many swimmers each year), consumption of contaminated food or water at a nearby establishment, consumption of contaminated food or water from the park, or swimming in the park lake.

Information was gathered about previous inspections of the concession stand, water-testing results from the beach area, and other significant events at the lake.

On the recommendation of DOH, at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9, DCNR closed the lake to all water activities, including swimming, boating and fishing. On Aug. 10, DOH conducted a site visit to the park along with DCNR and DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) to view the beach, camping sites, dumping stations and other potential opportunities for contamination of water. Small samples were collected from the beach water and sediment and sent to the DOH Bureau of Laboratories for testing. DEP also sent red dye through the sewer system to check for leaks into the lake. On Aug. 11, 100 liters of water were passed through a large-volume filtration system and sent to CDC as an additional attempt to detect organisms.

Eighteen confirmed and probable cases were identified throughout the course of the investigation. Thirteen of these cases were confirmed through a diagnosis of HUS and/or lab-identification of E. coli O157:H7. Ten of the 13 confirmed cases were hospitalized, and one was known to be a secondary case, exposed to another confirmed case but not the lake itself. The majority of the cases (61 percent) were 10 years old or younger. Many of the cases were exposed between July 30 and Aug. 1, although many went to the park and swam on multiple days.

Additionally, 24 persons were classified as suspect cases because they had reported GI symptoms and exposure to the lake; no additional data was available to classify these cases further. All 11 culture-positive cases had matching PFGE patterns with an uncommon two-enzyme combination that had not been seen nationally since December 2010.

The lake had a shallow swimming area along the beach, delineated by buoys. There were recently built, functioning shower and rest-room facilities adjacent to the concession stand, both easily accessible to beach users. There was an on-site water treatment plant down-stream from the lake and no critical deficiencies were found. The red dye which was placed in the sewer system was not subsequently observed in the lake, indicating there were no leaks from the sewer system into the lake water. All water and sediment samples tested failed to grow E. coli O157:H7.

While the lake water did not test positive for E. coli O157:H7, the epidemiology clearly indicates the lake as the source of transmission. The lake was the only common factor among all of the cases, and 100 percent of the primary cases reported swimming in the lake. The vast majority of the cases in this outbreak were children. The original source of contamination of the lake was unable to be determined, though it is likely from a person who was swimming while ill.

(why? what evidence? thought the origin was unable to be determined?)

The predominance of children is typical for outbreaks of E.coli O157:H7. The shallow, warm water of this beach makes it a popular site for children; children interact with recreational water very differently than adults and are more likely to accidentally swallow water. Children are also more likely to shed the bacteria after symptoms have resolved, putting other children at risk while playing together in the water or while interacting in other settings. This is particularly a problem with diapered children.

Public health messages about healthy swimming need to continue to be communicated, particularly at places with lots of children. The public needs to be reminded not to swim, or allow their children to swim, when they are experiencing diarrhea. Parents should try to keep their children from swallowing swimming water as much as possible. Finally, practicing good hygiene before and after swimming will help prevent contamination of water.

Fewer fundraisers, more E. coli prevention, the kind that works

WBTV reports family and friends are rallying together to help raise money for two-year-old Hunter Tallent, one of several people who became sick with E. coli after attending the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. The state traced the outbreak back to a livestock barn at the fairgrounds.

The family is holding the fundraiser to help raise money to cover Hunter’s medical bills from his hospital stay. The family says the state has not stepped in to help.

The event is called Hunter’s Angels and will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. through noon Sunday at Cole Creek Arena in Casar.

In Pennsylvania, three-year-old Avala Pierce of Chambersburg contracted an E. coli-related illness after a visit to Cowans Gap this summer.

She spent weeks in the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, followed by a month on kidney dialysis. She has ongoing seizures, has suffered a stroke, and has some mobility issues, prompting Mercersburg campers to help out.

Kent and Dee Saunders, owners of Saunderosa Campground, Little Cove Road, Mercersburg, along with their campers, held an auction and other fundraisers during the camping season to raise money to help offset the costs of Pierce’s illness.

In late summer and through the fall, the Saunders were able to give the family $1,000.

The child and her family were invited to the annual campground meal Dec. 17.

After the meal, Santa Claus paid a visit, during which the campers presented the family with an additional $400 to help with Christmas.

Cowan’s Gap will be open for all activities in 2012, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources spokesman.

Routine E. coli testing at Cowans Gap State Park has resumed, after a period of intensified testing for the source of bacteria that the Pennsylvania Department of Health said sickened at least 18 people.

Although the source of E. coli O157 at the 1,085-acre Fulton County park wasn’t found, state officials believe it originated from human feces. They plan to use signs and handouts to emphasize proper hygiene when bathing and swimming.

An engineering study done in conjunction with testing found DCNR needed to upgrade one of two below-grade wells at Cowans Gap State Park.

Toddler recovering from E. coli illness at Cowans Gap lake

An outbreak of E. coli O157 sickened at least 15 people who swam in Cowans Gap State Park lake in Pennsylvania in mid- to late-July.

Among them was 2-year-old Madisyn Myers, whose mother said she received a clean bill of health Monday after three weeks of illness. The child had diarrhea and a urinary tract infection.

"It’s hard to see your child go through that," said Michelle Myers of Hagerstown.

The state closed Cowans Gap State Park’s lake to all activities on Aug. 9. It reopened the Fulton County, Pa., lake to boating and fishing last week, but swimming continues to be prohibited.

Michelle Myers said she’s leery of visiting the lake in the future.

"It was horrible," she said of her daughter’s illness.

Madisyn Myers visited the park with her father and about 20 other people in the last weekend of July, according to her mother. The child was the only person from that group who was sickened.

Madisyn underwent stool and urine samples, catheterization and a day in the hospital. She lost four pounds, but the bacteria did not damage her kidneys as her mother feared.

"Monday was like a celebration for us," Michelle Myers said of receiving good test results.

E. coli found in Cowans Gap drinking water; 14 confirmed with O157 from lake

E. coli bacteria has been discovered in the potable water supply at Cowans Gap State Park, while the number of confirmed infections apparently coming from the lake has risen to 14.

According to the park’s website, the bacteria was discovered Tuesday in the raw water supply, before it entered the chlorine treatment plant. Pennsylvania

Department of Health spokesperson Christine Cronkright said the bacteria found in the drinking water was not E. coli O157:H7, the strain that has made over a dozen children sick since mid July.

On Thursday the Department of Health updated the total count of confirmed cases to 14. The latest case involves a child from Maryland. Cronkright said all of the individuals reported swimming in the lake, most of them during the last weekend in July.

Pennsylvania lake E. coli O157 toll climbs to 13, 8 HUS

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is now aware of at least 13 people infected with E. coli O157:H7 who swam in the lake at Cowans Gap State Park.

In a brief e-mail statement this afternoon, press aide Thomas Hostetter said the current numbers include six people from Franklin County, four from Lancaster County, and one from Huntingdon County. There are also two Maryland residents who got sick after visiting the park.

Hostetter said the E. coli outbreak at Cowans Gap remains under investigation, and that more updates will be released as they become available.

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.

9 sick including 3 HUS from E. coli O157; is Pennsylvania lake the source?

From the I-wish-I-hadn’t-said-that files, Terry Brady, a spokesperson with Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said Monday that the lake at Cowans Gap State Park remained open, despite links to three cases of E. coli O157. “The beaches are open and actually there was a good turnout today. A link to the park has not been established."

The lake was closed Tuesday afternoon, as the number of people, primarily children, confirmed to have contracted E. coli O157:H7 rose to six, with an additional three suspect cases.

At least three of the infected have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, including a 3-year-old Mercersburg girl who has been hospitalized since Wednesday, and a 12-year-old Chambersburg boy, who is now recovering after spending his birthday in the hospital.

Spokesman Brady said in an email Tuesday night that the closing of the lake at Cowans Gap is a precautionary measure "to protect the public’s health and safety until the investigation can be completed."

He said the decision was made after interviews showed that swimming in the lake before becoming ill was a common factor between all individuals.

Over the weekend, Nikki Gordon, a friend of the three-year-old’s family and another family friend, Amanda Stauffer, came up with the idea for a Facebook group to raise support. As of Friday evening, the group had 955 members, featuring hundreds of well wishes and regular updates on the girl’s condition.

Through her Facebook group, Stauffer has heard from several other people who say their children got sick after swimming in the lake at Cowans Gap, she said. They include a 6-year-old girl, a 15-month-old boy and several children who apparently suffered "mild symptoms" but did not require hospitalization.

"All of these kids have one thing in common, and it’s Cowans Gap. The only thing we do know is that they were all there," Stauffer said.