Father of girl hospitalized with E. coli after swim in Lake Anna: ‘It’s just been a whole nightmare for us’

After spending Memorial Day weekend at Lake Anna with friends, Ava Inglett (top right in left photo) was hospitalized with kidney failure.(Courtesy John Inglett)

The father of a teenager from Warrenton, Virginia, said his daughter has been hospitalized and was diagnosed with E. coli after a Memorial Day swim at Lake Anna in Spotsylvania County.

John Inglett said his daughter Ava was one of several cases of the illness linked to the lake. The Virginia Department of Health on Monday told WTOP in an email that it is investigating “approximately 20 probably cases” and testing the water.

Ava had gone to the lake with friends on Memorial Day. A day later, she started getting sick.

“We thought it was just going to be a quick sickness kind of thing,” Inglett said. “So we let it go a little bit further than we really wanted to, but it ended up in an emergency room visit.”

Inglett said other parents contacted him and his wife, Judy, to let them know their children also came down with a similar illness and that doctors told those parents to keep their children hydrated as it runs its course.

“We were not alarmed until that Friday, when she started having bloody diarrhea and throwing up violently,” Inglett said.

He said they consulted their pediatrician who said the best course of action was to keep Ava hydrated, but when she showed little improvement over time, they decided to take her to the emergency room.

“We’re just going to take her to the ER, maybe just get her on an IV just because, based on what everybody’s telling us, she’s got an issue with being hydrated,” Inglett said. “Later in the afternoon, (they) explained our situation, said, ‘Hey, you know she needs to be on fluids. We think she has E. coli, and it’s not getting any better.”

Doctors also took blood work, and the results showed Ava was in kidney failure.

“I was in just disbelief,” her father added. “It’s just been a whole nightmare for us.”

Ava was later transferred to the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus where she underwent days of dialysis and three blood transfusions.

On Thursday, Ava’s parents said doctors were optimistic that Ava will eventually be able to come off dialysis and be released on Friday.

Both parents believe more should have been done to test the water of Lake Anna and other Virginia lakes, and visitors should be warned about the possible danger of bacteria such as E. coli.

“There needs to be a warning system or a way for people to get more information on, ‘Hey, when I go to this lake, not just Lake Anna but any type of lake, that this could possibly happen,’” Inglett said.

VDH said water testing results could be back as soon as Thursday.

WTOP has reached out to the department for an update.

John and Judy are warning other parents to be aware of this risk, which can come with swimming in lakes.

“My daughter went down there 100% healthy, and she came out of there pretty much on life support, hoping that her kidneys will recover,” her father said.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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