5 children hospitalized, 14 others diagnosed with E. coli after visit to Lake Anna

Virginia Department of Health officials said several people contracted a bacterial infection while visiting Lake Anna on and after Memorial Day weekend. And while tests show the concentration of E. coli were below a “public health level of concern,” no single cause of the outbreak has been identified.

The department said 25 probable and confirmed cases of the bacterial infection have been reported from visitors since it began investigating the issue on June 11. Only four of those cases involved residents of other states.

“Most cases (76%) have occurred in children younger than 18 years of age,” the department said, adding that all five cases of a more serious hemolytic uremic syndrome — a disorder affecting kidney functions and blood clotting — have involved children who visited the lake.

While the investigation is ongoing, officials with the state health department said that samples collected on June 11 have found fecal bacteria concentrations that “were well below a public health level of concern.”

“VDH’s investigation is ongoing. No single cause of the outbreak has been identified, and it is possible we might not be able to identify the source,” the department said in a release Friday evening.

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Officials said that everything from environmental pollution caused by heavy rains, failing septic systems, livestock patterns and swimmers themselves could be a source of illness. Swimmers are warned to avoid swimming in areas where livestock are present.

The department has also released an outbreak tracker with more information on local infections. No deaths related to the outbreak have been reported.

Days after the reported E. coli outbreak was first reported in and around Lake Anna, WTOP spoke with the father of a Warrenton, Virginia, teenager whose daughter was hospitalized with E. coli. She was later sent to an emergency room and treated for kidney failure, with dialysis and blood transfusions.

“I was in just disbelief. It’s just been a whole nightmare for us,” the girl’s father said.

WTOP’s Matt Kaufax, Mike Murillo and Ciara Wells contributed to this report.

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Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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