July 29, 2017 – The Nevada County Public Health Department (NCPHD) has received reports of five young children with recent crampy abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. Initial tests for three of the children have come back preliminarily positive for E. coli 0157:H7, which is the most commonly recognized Shiga toxin-producing E. coli strain. This strain can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and complications, and three of the children have been hospitalized.
NCPHD is working closely with the Nevada County Environmental Health Department (NCEHD) on an active investigation of this outbreak. To date, no common food or animal exposure has been identified, but the Lake Wildwood Main Beach area has been a common recreational site among the cases.
NCEHD, in coordination with NCPHD and the Lake Wildwood Association, has temporarily closed the Main Beach access and swimming area associated with the Main Beach as a precaution to ensure public health and safety. Their staff collected water samples near the beach shoreline and the swim area. Test results received today show elevated fecal coliforms which are bacteria that can cause serious illness. For this reason, the Main Beach and swimming area will remain closed until levels fall. In addition, NCPHD and NCEHD advise no recreational swimming in the lake until additional beach areas have been tested. This is most critical for more vulnerable populations including young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems.
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NCEHD also coordinated with the Public Works Department to determine if there are any failures to the existing wastewater treatment plant pump stations. The Public Works team inspected all wastewater pump systems and have confirmed there are no current leaks, all systems functioning correctly. The Public Works team will continue monitoring.
The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting and sometimes fever. Most people recover within five to ten days. “This illness is more dangerous in young children than healthy adults,” said Dr. Ken Cutler, Nevada County Health Officer. “If you, a family member or a recent guest are experiencing these symptoms, contact your health care provider right away.”
For more information about E.Coli, visit the California Department of Public Health’s website located at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/E-coli-O157H7.aspx.