Officials investigating illness possibly related to Lake Minnetonka

Updated: July 09, 2019 06:25 PM

Officials are investigating multiple illness reports that may be associated with the "Big Island" area of Lake Minnetonka over the Fourth of July holiday.

Austin Hilgenberg was enjoying time with friends on the lake, near Big Island, but after the holiday celebration ended, he got sick, and so did six others on his boat.


"Most of the people who were jumping in, submerging themselves under water were the ones getting sick," he said. 

Hennepin County Public Health officials say this many people sick from one area is uncommon.

"We are considering this an outbreak and this is an active outbreak investigation," said Dave Johnson, Epidemiology Manager with Hennepin County Public Health.

RELATED: Beaches closed in Excelsior due to E. coli

"We're asking people about their water exposure, were they in the water, were they swimming. We're also asking about what they were eating and drinking while out on the boat, and what they were consuming before they went out on the boat," he added. 

Hilgenberg says Big Island is such a popular gathering spot and he has some suggestions for the future to prevent incidents like this.

"It's time that the Lake Minnetonka Association take precautions ahead of time to provide a public barge with sanitation, waste management and public assistance in case there is a medical injury," he said. 

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to the association, but did not hear back.

Hennepin County said Public Health officials are working with the Minnesota Department of Health to determine the type of illness. As of Tuesday morning, no source had been identified, although the focus is on either a food or water bourne illness.

RELATED: Beach on Bde Maka Ska closed due to E. coli levels

The county said people have reported symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, and cramping. So far they have connected with at least 30 impacted people, and are still filtering through more. If you are experiencing symptons, you are urged to contact your doctor.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, some general tips for preventing waterborne illnesses include showering before and after swimming and making sure the water doesn't enter the mouth while swimming.

Additionally, those with children who are going into the water are advised to change their diapers regularly. The MDH also advises swimmers to avoid going into the water after it rains, as contaminants from the land may have recently entered the water.

Connect with KSTP

Join the conversation on our social media platforms. Share your comments on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.



Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


Home of Minneapolis City Council president vandalized

Substitute shortage could impact upcoming school year

Sturgis rally still a go in South Dakota, as many as 250,000 people expected to attend

Below average temps to remain Tuesday

Restaurant employees race to save people from burning car in Minneapolis