Health & Science

Virginia officials close investigation into Lake Anna E. coli outbreak; cause remains unknown

Agency urges swimmer precautions for Fourth of July weekend

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) concluded its investigation into the outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that affected visitors to Lake Anna over Memorial Day weekend. 

After thorough testing, officials were unable to detect E. coli in the water. The source of the outbreak remains unknown. 

The VDH conducted extensive water testing approximately four weeks after the incidents, but results showed no presence of E. coli. Additionally, fecal bacteria levels were not high enough to pose a public health concern. 

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.

Ava Inglett,15, of Northern Virginia, was one of the people affected by the outbreak. 

She suffered severe complications, including renal failure, and underwent multiple blood transfusions and dialysis sessions.

The VDH reminds the public that natural bodies of water, such as Lake Anna, always pose some health risks because they are untreated. Swimmers are advised to take precautions such as avoiding swallowing water, showering after swimming, and avoiding the water if they have open wounds or are ill. 

"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, Ava's mother, previously told News4.

While the investigation into the Memorial Day outbreak is closed, the VDH will continue enhanced public health surveillance through July 17 in light of Fourth of July celebrations. Regular bacterial monitoring of Lake Anna will continue as part of routine public health measures. 

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