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MDH received 60+ reports of illness after people swam at Schulze Lake

The lake has been closed to the public after a potential viral outbreak.

DAKOTA COUNTY, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Health is asking people to stay home and not visit local beaches and pools if they are experiencing any illness that involves vomiting or diarrhea. 

The request comes after the MDH received more than 60 reports of illness from people who had swam at Schulze Lake

The department said Monday that it doesn't know when the lake would reopen. 

Most of the reports came from people experiencing vomiting and diarrhea over the last three days, according to a release from the department.

Health officials are still working to determine the pathogen causing the illness, but the symptoms and incubation period are consistent with norovirus infection. 

“These types of germs can spread quickly and widely if people who are or have recently been ill swim in the same water with others,” said Trisha Robinson, who is a waterborne disease supervisor. “It’s critical that people stay out of any water until at least 72 hours after symptoms go away so we can stop the spread of the virus.”

Norovirus is spread by the fecal-oral route, meaning those who have been ill shed the virus in their stool, according to the MDH. 

“Very small amounts of virus can be left on people’s bottoms, who then go in the water, and people nearby can ingest the virus with small amounts of water as they swim. That’s why we always advise that people who have been ill not go in the water,” Robinson said in the release.  

Symptoms of the virus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach cramps that begin 12 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus, said the MDH.

Joe McCormick lives nearby and was paddleboarding just a few days before MDH announced a viral infection. He considers himself lucky he didn't feel any symptoms.

"It's a shame it closed," he said. "Knowing people will have to hold off on their fun."

Jackson Kuhl spent a few hours Monday afternoon tanning on the grass since the beach was taped off. 

"It's super dead," he said as he looked at the empty lake. "It's just like, eerie."

The MDH says anyone who has become sick after swimming at Schulze Lake can contact the Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at 651-201-5655 or email health.foodill@state.mn.us

The department is currently working with those affected to confirm the virus.

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