Boy In ICU After Swimming In Bacteria-Infected Lake

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A toddler in Northern California is now in the ICU after being infected with E. coli while swimming in a lake.

Four other children were also swimming alongside the 3-year-old boy in Lake Wildwood, CNN Wire reports.

In addition to the toddler, two other children also tested positive for the bacteria.

A pregnant mother is also suspected of having contracted E. coli, reports The Grass Valley Union.

Sara Dunn, the toddler's aunt, recalls the 3-year-old gradually grew sicker as the days passed.

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"He started coming down with symptoms earlier this week, around Monday or Tuesday," she said. "Real upset stomach, digestive issues, blood in his stool."

When they took him to the hospital, the child was quickly admitted to the ICU before transferring him to UC Davis.

"He was taken to Sierra Nevada Tuesday, admitted to ICU shortly afterwards," added Dunn. "And was admitted to UC Davis yesterday because he tested positive for E. coli and it's now affecting his kidneys."

Dunn urges the community to pray for her sister, although she wanted to keep the child anonymous and did not give his name out.

"I can't imagine the pain and stress," she continued. "They're holding up OK, the best they can, but it has been hard for all of us."

The health department closed down the beach after tests revealed the water contained a dangerous amount of fecal coliforms.

The health department investigated area wastewater treatment plants and said they seemed to be working fine. 

After reading about the incident, many said they were hesitant to swim in lakes.

"That's why I'm so scared of the kids going in the water," wrote one mother on KTLA 5 News' Facebook page.

"And this is why i am not crazy on going into lakes and rivers ...they look beautiful but not to crazy about them," agreed a second person.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli bacteria lives in the intestines of people and animals, and is also found in some foods and in the environment.

"Most E. coli are harmless and actually are an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract," the center explains. "However, some E. coli are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness, either diarrhea or illness outside of the intestinal tract. The types of E. coli that can cause diarrhea can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons."

In addition to diarrhea, E. coli bacteria can also cause other illnesses, like urinary tract infections, respiratory illnesses and pneumonia.

Sources: CNN Wire via KTLA, The Grass Valley UnionKTLA 5 News/Facebook, CDC (2) / Photo credit: Travisthurston/Wikimedia Commons, NIAID/Wikimedia Commons, Eric Erbe/ARS/USDA/Wikimedia Commons

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