July 6, 1995
OLSON LAKE AT ROCK CUT STATE PARK CLOSED TO SWIMMERS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Illinois Department of Natural Resources director Brent Manning today closed Olson Lake at Rock Cut State Park to swimmers as a precaution due to suspected bacterial contamination in the lake.
Manning said he ordered the lake closed following consultation with Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. Dr. Lumpkin informed Manning late Thursday that seven children have either tested positive for E. coli 0157 or have symptoms compatible with the bacteria. All seven reported swimming at Olson Lake on June 25th and subsequently becoming ill.
"While I recognize closing the lake to swimmers is an inconvenience, it is important that we do everything we can to protect the public from potential illness," Manning said.
The state Department of Public Health received test results from water samples of the lake on June 29 that indicated higher than acceptable levels of fecal coliform organisms, an indication of animal or human water contamination. Additional water samples were taken today and sent to a laboratory for testing. The Illinois Bathing Beach Code requires a beach be closed if two consecutive samples indicate fecal coliform organisms in excess of 500 per 100 milliliters of water. The initial test results showed a level of 900 per 100 milliliters.
Manning and Lumpkin agreed the lake should be closed as a precaution until further testing can be completed. Manning said the lake would remain closed to swimmers until there are two consecutive samples under the allowable limits of fecal coliform organisms. Tests of lake water on May 17 and June 6 showed no fecal coliform contamination.
E. coli 0157 is a bacteria most often associated with the consumption of undercooked food but it also has been linked to drinking or swimming in sewage-contaminated water. E. coli can cause severe illness, particularly among children younger than 5 years of age and the elderly.
Symptoms of E. coli illness include bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
Manning said Rock Cut's Pierce Lake, which does not allow swimming, would remain open for fishing and boating.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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