Several children hospitalized after an outbreak of E. coli at Virginia Lake

Virginia health officials are investigating a surge in brutal gastrointestinal illnesses reported among children who were at a popular lake over Memorial Day weekend, with a number of them ending up at the hospital.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) says some people who were in the water of Lake Anna have been diagnosed with Escherichia coli (E. coli) infection, which causes stomach cramps and diarrhea. diarrhea. Symptoms may also include vomiting, fever, chills, and in severe cases the infection can damage organs such as the kidneys.

Most types of E. coli are harmless, but some can make someone sick, the Centers for Diseases and Infections said.

Judy Inglett, a Fauquier County mother, said her 15-year-old daughter had symptoms when she returned from Lake Anna and had undergone at least two rounds of dialysis since being hospitalized.

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An aerial photo shows Dominion Energy’s North Anna Generating Station along the shores of Lake Anna in Mineral, Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” Inglett said Fox 10 News. “She left that Friday, that weekend, and she was fine. And now she’s fighting for her life.”

Inglett said her daughter was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare but serious condition that affects the kidneys and blood clotting functions of infected people.

“She has kidney failure. I wouldn’t even let my dogs swim in that lake. There’s definitely something going on. It’s not safe,” Inglett told the outlet.

The VDH said in a statement last week that clinical evaluation and treatment of patients was ongoing.

The agency said it was investigating all potential causes of illness, including exposure to lake water and food. Lake Anna is one of Virginia’s largest inland freshwater reservoirs, covering 13,000 acres and located 72 miles south of Washington, DC.

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Swimming, fishing and boating are permitted on the lake. (Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

“While all of the ill individuals confirm that they swam or were exposed to other waters in Lake Anna, VDH does not currently have sufficient information to confirm that exposure to the lake, or any other specific part of the lake, is the cause of diseases,” said the VDH. read the press release. “Testing of lake water is underway to assess current bacteria concentrations and determine whether a public health risk may be ongoing.”

These illnesses are not suspected to be linked to harmful algal blooms (HABs), as the pathogen is not associated with HABs, the VDH said. Fox News Digital has reached out to the department for updates.

“There’s definitely something going on. It’s not sure.”

-Judy Inglett

Another parent, Nate Hiner, told Fox 10 News that his 8-year-old twins were sent to Children’s National…

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