Bacteria Water

The Daily Progress: State completes its investigation into the Lake Anna bacteria outbreak

The Virginia Department of Health closed its investigation after the latest round of testing at Lake Anna. This was in response to the Memorial Day outbreak of illness among those who had swum in the lake.

Department officials said that it has been more than 20 full days since the last infected person visited Lake Anna. After 25 people became ill after the long weekend in late May, the department collected samples from the water. The health department stated in a Tuesday statement that neither those tests nor the latest samples taken on the 25th of June were able identify the bacteria present in the water.

The department of health has not been successful in determining the source of bacteria.

On June 6, the state agency announced that it was investigating a cluster of gastrointestinal illness in people who had been in the Lake Anna region over the holiday weekend. Three out of four people affected were children with E. coli.

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STEC, also known as Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia Coli, was found to be the cause of the illness. According to the state, severe cases of STEC may progress to hemolytic-uremic syndrome.

The Health Department noted that the testing on June 25 was “a snapshot in time at a specific place” four weeks after an outbreak. The results, in turn, “might reflect the water conditions during the holiday weekend.”

The health department announced that it would conduct enhanced surveillance of public health through July 17. This will include monitoring emergency department and Urgent Care visits, as well as investigating any bacteria reports that may arise.

The Department of Environmental Quality will also continue to monitor the lake regularly for bacteria. This is done annually between April-October.

Although the bacteria problem appears to be over, there is still a swim advisory in place for the North Anna Branch due to harmful algae blooms. The harmful algae blooms have been a problem in some parts of the Lake for the last six summers. They are not connected to the bacteria outbreak.

Summer is a great time to visit the 13,000-acre lake created by man, which is used to cool Dominion Energy North Anna’s nuclear power plant. The algae blooms caused it to be added to the list of impaired waters in 2022.

Scott Shenk (540) 374-5436


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