Is it safe to go to Lake Minnetonka?
LAKE MINNETONKA, Minn. (FOX 9) - An outbreak over the Fourth of July holiday has led to dozens of people reporting illnesses after visiting Big Island at Lake Minnetonka.
Friday, health officials said they are still working to determine what exact illness people were exposed to, but, officials said recent tests showed the water was safe.
Public health officials believe the outbreak was an isolated incident, and they don't think anyone else should worry about getting sick from the water in the lake.
Every weekend, Jake Majors brings his 25-foot long sailboat to Lake Minnetonka. But this week, he plans to steer clear of Big Island just to be safe. "It’s a big lake. They only had issues in a small area. I think the rest of the water on the lake is fine."
Public health officials now say 172 people have reported symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea after boating near Big Island on the Fourth of July. Health officials say they may never know what made those people sick other than it was something in the water. But they have ruled out E. coli as a possible cause.
“At this time we do not believe there is ongoing heightened risk of disease to the general public on Lake Minnetonka,” said Dave Johnson, Hennepin County Public Health. “We do not have evidence that recent exposures in this area or any area of the lake have led to illness.”
Employees at the Black Oar paddleboard rental shop in Spring Park have been warning customers about the Big Island illnesses to make sure they still want to take the plunge.
"A lot of people push that to the side,” says Chase Lee, The Black Oar. “They want to be out on the water on days like today.”
But Majors hopes it’s smooth sailing ahead. "I'm at the lake to go swimming, so I'm going to keep jumping in the lake. But I'll watch for it for sure."
Health officials say don't go in the water if you are sick. Avoid swallowing the lake water and shower before and after you go in. Above all, don't use the lake as your toilet.