Lake Anna E. coli investigation: Teen on dialysis as officials study illness cluster in kids

"There's something in the water that's making all these kids sick," said the mother of a 15-year-old girl who had renal failure and needed blood transfusions after a Memorial Day weekend boating trip

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Northern Virginia mom is putting out a warning after she says her daughter was sickened by E. Coli after a visit to Lake Anna.

The start of Memorial Day weekend was about as good as it gets for Ava Inglett, a 15-year-old student at Kettle Run High School in Nokesville, Virginia. She joined some friends for a boating weekend at Lake Anna, a popular summer destination in Virginia. They had fun and made memories.

But a few days later, the same kid shown in sun-soaked pictures taken on a boat was bedridden in a hospital.

"And now she's, like, on dialysis and going through all these things that never in a million years would I have imagined that my daughter would be dealing with," her mom, Judy Inglett, said.

Judy Inglett said one of Ava's friends tested positive for E. coli. Within a few days, Ava's symptoms got worse and doctors at UVA said she had renal failure.

Since being transferred to Inova, she's had three blood transfusions and four rounds of dialysis.

"There's something in the water that's making all these kids sick," Judy Inglett said.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is now investigating what it calls a cluster of gastrointestinal illness and E. coli in kids who were at Lake Anna over Memorial Day weekend. According to the VDH, E. coli infection causes stomach cramps and diarrhea, and can cause include vomiting, fever and chills. In severe cases, it can damage organs, including the kidneys, and lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome, which affects the kidneys and the body's blood clotting system.

“We hope that those hospitalized continue to recover and can return home to their families soon,” said Rappahannock Health District Health Director Olugbenga O. Obasanjo, MD, in a statement online. “This is an ongoing investigation with the health department, and we will likely continue to learn about the situation in the coming days.”

The VDH said that everyone who got sick swam in Lake Anna or were otherwise exposed to the water, but health officials said they don't have enough information yet to confirm that exposure to the lake is the source of the illnesses.

"Water testing of the lake to evaluate present concentrations of bacteria, and to determine whether a public health risk may be ongoing, is being conducted," the VDH said in a statement.

As a safety reminder for all parents, health officials say swimmers should shower before and after swimming, wash their hands before eating and never drink lake water.

"I just want people to know and think twice before they let their child take a swim in that water, because I would hate for anybody else to go through what my daughter's been through," Judy Inglett said.

The unofficial start of summer began for Ava Inglett with more days spent in the hospital than she spent on vacation. Her mom said if Ava's kidneys improve, doctors may let her go home from the hospital on Friday.

Contact Us