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Health Officials Say 3 E. Coli Cases Linked To Lake Minnetonka

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(credit: CBS) Kate Raddatz
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – State health officials said at least three people have been diagnosed with E. coli from swimming near Big Island on Lake Minnetonka over the Fourth of July holiday.

“I think it’s absurd — it’s gross, I can’t even believe that,” said Jonathan Daly of Lakeville.

State health officials said it’s the first time the lake has had an E. coli outbreak.

Health officials said the illnesses happened with young adults who were all within the seven-county Twin Cities metro. One of the three was hospitalized and has since recovered. All three cases involved people either swimming or boating on the lake on Big Island, where it’s known for large groups of people to gather.

“It could happen anywhere so that’s why people swimming in Minnesota should be aware and take precautions,” Minnesota Department of Health epidemiologist Trisha Robinson said.

Officials said the source of the E. coli bacteria is unknown and that it can come from multiple sources. Those include animal waste, individual septic systems or sewage issues, improper waste disposal or other swimmers who are sick.

“Swallowing the water — that’s how people get sick, so keep the water out of our mouths, but especially if you have diarrhea, you should not go swimming,” Robinson said.

Since 2001, there’s only been four lakes with outbreaks reported in Minnesota.

Health officials say you should also shower off as soon as possible after swimming, and that symptoms don’t show up until five to 10 days after you come in contact.

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