E. coli infection from lake critically sickens 3-year-old, 2 others

Posted at 1:04 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-31 13:04:11-04

NEVADA COUNTY, CA (KTXL/CNN) - Sara Dunn, the aunt of a 3-year-old boy hospitalized for E. coli is speaking out.

She said the boy tested positive for E. coli after swimming in a lake.

"He started coming down with symptoms earlier this week, around Monday or Tuesday - real upset stomach, digestive issues, blood in his stool," Dunn said.

The family doesn't want to release his name.

Dunn says her sister, the boy's mother, took him to Lake Wildwood Beach last week, where they went swimming near the clubhouse, a place the Nevada County Public Health Department now believes exposed him and four others to E. coli.

"(He) was taken to Sierra Nevada Tuesday, admitted to ICU shortly afterwards, and was transferred to UC Davis yesterday because he tested positive for E. coli, and it's now affecting his kidneys," Dunn said.

The health department said five children became very ill, and of those, three have tested positive for E. coli.

Dunn said her nephew knows at least one of the other sick boys, and she believes some adults are also being treated.

"They are friends, know each other. So they might have very well been there the same day. But, yeah, the mother's pregnant, who is also affected, and her son," Dunn said.

The health department closed down the beach after water tested there had high levels of fecal coliforms, bacteria which can cause serious illness.

There are wastewater treatment plants near the lake, but the county public works department said it found no leaks, and the system appears to be working normally.

Lake Wildwood is a gated community. The management was unavailable for comment.

Dunn feels like both the homeowners association and the county could have done more to prevent this: "Alert residents, posting more signs on beaches, maybe caution don't swim," Dunn said.

No swimmers were seen at the lake Sunday, but many were boating. Some were even fishing.

Dunn hopes the community prays for her sister's family.

"I can't imagine the pain and stress. They're holding up OK, the best they can, but it has been hard for all of us," she said.

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