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Lake Nokomis bacteria outbreak grows to 49; beaches closed for season

Star Tribune - 8/16/2019

What began as an E. coli outbreak in three children who swam in Lake Nokomis has now grown to 49 people who showed symptoms of bacterial infection, the Minnesota Health Department said Friday.

The south Minneapolis lake’s two beaches will be closed for the rest of the season out of an “abundance of caution,” Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board officials said.

The beaches were first shut down Tuesday after the Health Department determined that the children were infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, a strain that can cause serious illness.

News stories about the infections prompted some people to call the Health Department, which also sent surveys to swimmers who were known to have visited Lake Nokomis recently.

The 49 people all developed diarrhea after taking a dip in the lake sometime between July 16 and August 11. None were hospitalized.

Any Lake Nokomis swimmers that developed infection symptoms, which include diarrhea, often bloody, as well as stomach cramps or low-grade fever, should see a health care provider, health officials said.

They are also asking visitors to complete an online survey if they were at Lake Nokomis between mid-July and mid-August.

This year has seen a record number of closures at Minneapolis beaches, but park officials said that there are seven beaches open through Labor Day, with the closest two beaches located at Lake Harriet.

Glenn Howatt • 612-673-7192


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