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7/10/2014

County closes Vancouver Lake to swimmers due to E. coli bacteria

Vancouver Lake Regional Park remains open for other activities

Contact

Gary Bickett, Public Health
Phone: (360) 397-8160
gary.bickett@clark.wa.gov

Bill Bjerke, Public Works
Phone: (360) 397-2285 ext. 1656
bill.bjerke@clark.wa.gov

Vancouver, WA – Clark County today closed Vancouver Lake to swimming and wading after routine testing showed elevated levels of E. coli bacteria.

The bacteria can cause serious gastrointestinal illness when water is swallowed by accident.

Vancouver Lake Regional Park will remain open to the public. Water in restrooms and shelters is unaffected and safe to drink.

The health warning will remain in effect until tests show that E. coli levels do not exceed state and federal guidelines.

Park visitors may continue to consume fish caught in the lake after a thorough cleaning of all fish and equipment. Fish should be cooked and not eaten raw. Anyone coming into contact with the water from Vancouver Lake should wash their hands with soap and warm water.

“One of the best ways to reduce the spread of E. coli in swimming areas is to ensure that children stay out of the water if they are not potty trained,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer. “Swim diapers are not reliable. We discourage their use.”

Public Health will test the lake daily and advise the public when water contact is considered safe. Information and testing results are at http://www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/pools/beaches.html.

More information on swimming and water safety in county parks is at: www.clark.wa.gov/publicworks/parks/swimming.html.

Information about E. coli
E. coli is a common bacteria in the intestines of animals and people and may be found in feces. Some of these bacteria can cause severe gastrointestinal illness.

Depending on the cause, people with gastrointestinal infections may experience fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea beginning several hours to several days or longer after exposure.

Taking antibiotics or over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicines can make some infections worse. People with bloody diarrhea or persistent gastrointestinal symptoms should call their physician or other healthcare provider.

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