E.coli Alert Information for YWCA Triathletes

E.coli Alert Information for YWCA Triathletes

Created on: Thursday, August 15, 2019
Author: Aaron Schmidt (2019 Summer Intern); Sean Willey, DO (YWCA Triathlon Medical Director)

E.coli has recently crept into the local spotlight this past weekend as Minneapolis Park and Rec Department closed Lake Nokomis’ beaches following a confirmed E.coli outbreak, in which three children were infected as a result of swimming in Lake Nokomis during the period of July 26 through August 2. The summer months from June to September are the most common times for E.coli outbreaks to occur.3 E.coli contamination of local lakes often result after rainfalls, as water runoff can bring bacteria from sewage, beaches, and animal fecal matter into the lakes.3 Summer also brings more traffic to the lakes with a high number of swimmers, many of which are children. This increased activity allows for the transfer and contamination of more E.coli bacteria to occur.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, or STEC, is a bacteria that is found within the intestinal tract of people and animals and has been in the news intermittently over the last few years as a result of outbreaks of E.coli foodborne illnesses. E.coli infection often presents symptoms such as severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and bloody stools, as well as vomiting and nausea.1,2 A mild fever (below 101°F) can also accompany any of the previous symptoms listed.2 These symptoms tend to present themselves 3-4 days after initial exposure, but can range anywhere from 1 to 10 days following exposure.1,2

We encourage anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms, especially those who have recently swam in Lake Nokomis to reach out to their primary care doctor immediately. An E.coli infection can be easily diagnosed in clinic through a lab test of a stool sample. It is very important that infected individuals stay hydrated and get adequate sleep in order to allow their body adequate amenities to recover. Patients suspicious of having E.coli should not take antibiotics, as it can cause further complications. Proper hygiene, especially when using the bathroom and cooking can prevent further transmission and contamination.

Current E.coli levels and statuses of all Minneapolis public beaches can be checked at Minneapolis Parks and Recs phone number 612-313-7713. Additional questions or concerns regarding E.coli and reporting it can be done by contacting the Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at 651-201-5655 or emailing them at health.foodill@state.mn.us.

  1. E. coli (Escherichia coli) | E. coli | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/index.html. Accessed August 14, 2019.
  2. Hebbelstrup Jensen B, Olsen KEP, Struve C, Krogfelt KA, Petersen AM. Epidemiology and clinical manifestations of enteroaggregative Escherichia coli. Clinical microbiology reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24982324. Published July 2014. Accessed August 14, 2019.
  3. Beach Monitoring: Beaches and Recreational Waters in Minnesota - Minnesota Dept. of Health.  https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/recreation/beaches/monitoring.html. Accessed August 14, 2019.

Add Comment

Name (*)
Email (*)
Article Title (*)
Message (*)
*Required Fields

Blog Home