Summer is Here – But E. Coli Contamination of Vancouver Lake Forces Closure

    E. coli in Water
    E. Coli Contamination of Vancouver Lake

    E. Coli Contamination of Vancouver Lake

                Vancouver Lake of Vancouver, Washington, is temporarily closed for swimming due to dangerous levels of E. Coli. Public health employees found that on 06/03/2020 the E. Coli levels exceeded the appropriate amount of E. Coli in bodies of water set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Vancouver Lake is set to open back up for swimming once the E. Coli levels are found to not be harmful. The public is still allowed to go fishing in the Vancouver Lake during this time, though authorities have warned any fishers that any fish caught to be eaten at the lake during this time are at risk for E. Coli contamination. To avoid food poisoning, proper precaution should be taken with the fish before consuming, such as throughly cleaning and cooking the fish. The E. Coli contamination is caused by both human and animal feces contaminating the water. Bodies of water are most likely to be tainted with E. Coli and other harmful bacteria after large downfalls of rain and floods, during which polluted run off water can flow into lakes. Children are at an increased risk for consuming E. Coli in the lake because they are more likely to ingest the toxic lake water, as compared to adults.

                E. Coli is a bacteria found in the digestive tract of both humans and adults, and while the majority of E. Coli strands are harmless, a few select strands can cause severe gastrointestinal illness. Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli (STEC) is the E. Coli infection in humans which is spread through consumption of contaminated food, water, and physical contact. Symptoms of an STEC infection typically present three to four days after infection, though some patients have reported symptoms beginning over a week after consumption. The majority of patients with a STEC infection report symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, and fatigue. If you believe you are suffering from a STEC infection, contact your physician immediately.


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