Health and wildlife officials remind risk of swimming infections this holiday

Health and wildlife officials remind risk of swimming infections this holiday

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is dissuading people from swimming at four lakes in the state this weekend for high E. coli levels, according to their water quality monitoring map. As people hit the water for Independence Day weekend, they’re also reminding them how to decrease their risk of infection while swimming.

“If you go bathing, take a shower when you’re done. If you have open wounds, you probably shouldn’t go swimming. You’re increasing risk when you have those sorts of things,” Iowa DNR Water Monitoring Supervisor Roger Bruner said. 

“I’m one of those ‘worrier’ type of people. So, when I hear there might be something in the water, something that could get you sick, obviously it’s going to be on my mind,” Ben Colin said, who was swimming at Coralville Lake Friday.

While Bruner says the risk for infection is still low at this point, doctors at the University of Iowa are monitoring necrotizing, or flesh-eating infections.

“It starts out, just a little redness, it looks like a little pimple or a red spot. And then high fever, intense pain and then rapidly spreading redness and tissue loss. By rapid it could happen within a few hours,” Dr. Thomas Granchi said.

Dr. Granchi is describing the same infection that killed a woman in Florida recently. He has seen cases in Iowa this year, none of them lethal, and none of them being spread through the water, yet.

“Generally the bacteria counts go up if there’s flooding and then warm weather,” Dr. Granchi said.

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