September 28, 2017 – As previously reported, there have been eighteen cases linked to the recent E. coli 0157 outbreak associated with Lake Wildwood, ten of whom were hospitalized and subsequently discharged home. Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) also caused Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) in four of the cases. HUS is a potentially life-threatening condition with anemia and kidney complications that can last throughout adulthood.
In August and early September, Nevada County reported on elevated levels of fecal coliforms in the water of Lake Wildwood. In addition to the testing being done by the Nevada County Environmental Health Department (NCEHD), water and sediment samples were taken and sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more advanced testing to determine if a disease-associated STEC was present. CDC’s test results indicate that STEC O157, a pathogen, was identified both in the water at Meadow Park and in the submerged sediment at Commodore Beach. Their testing also showed that the STEC carried genetic markers from geese. In addition, STEC was isolated from a sample of goose scat near Meadow Park.
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The environmental investigation continues to determine the original source of contamination. Nevada County continues to work in consultation with state and federal colleagues on developing a plan for opening the lake to recreational use. In the meantime, for the purposes of public health and safety, the five public beaches at Lake Wildwood remain closed and the no-swim advisory remains in place.
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.