July 3, 2019 – As the July 4th holiday approaches and people head to the county’s waterbodies to celebrate and cool off, the Nevada County Public Health Department (NCPHD) wants to remind everyone that there is a Public Health Advisory in place for Lake Wildwood. NCPHD recommends the following:
Do not ingest lake water*. Swallowing lake water, especially near the shoreline or sandy beaches, has resulted in serious illness. Swimming or splashing is not advised in any location experiencing high E. coli levels or in areas with evidence of goose fecal droppings.
While there have been no reports of illnesses associated with Lake Wildwood since the summer of 2017 outbreak when 18 people fell ill with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 (STEC O157), most after unintentionally ingesting lake water, we know that STEC has been intermittently found in the lake and small creeks that flow into the lake, which is cause for concern.
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“With so much time passing since the last reported illness, people could become complacent to the Public Health Advisory and that complacency could lead to illness,” said Dr. Ken Cutler, Nevada County Health Officer. “The NCPHD advisory not to ingest lake water should be taken to heart and is most critical for more vulnerable populations including young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems,” he added.
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 or visit the CDC’s website located at https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html.
*The advice not to ingest lake water applies to the whole lake. Certain activities, such as splashing, or submerging your head, can lead to the unintentional ingestion of lake water.