Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Jackson County Forestry and Parks, Administrator Jim Zahasky, states that Lake Wazee Beach will open today after being closed for the past week. Lake Wazee Beach was closed to allow natural elements such as warm weather and UV lighting from the sun to destroy human fecal contaminants in the water. Christine Hovell, Jackson County Health Officer, states that testing completed on July 16, 2012 by USDA officials on Lake Wazee Beach water, identified that human fecal contaminants were no longer present and that the water is now safe for swimming.
The Jackson County Health Department in collaboration with Jackson County Forestry and Parks began an investigation, Monday July 9th after receiving notification of persons who became ill after swimming in Lake Wazee Beach area on July 4th. Initially food poisoning was suspected, however after investigation, the water in the beach area was identified as a source for illness. Testing by the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene on samples obtained from ill persons, identified Norovirus as the probable cause of the illness associated with Lake Wazee Beach on July 4th. Over 200 persons reported illness to the Health Department with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, headache, nausea, stomachache, fever and body ache. Illness resolved within an average of 24-36 hours.
Routine testing of Lake Wazee Beach throughout the summer each year shows that illness causing contaminants in the water have been practically non-existent. This incident appears to be an isolated event related to human contamination in Beach Water. Lake Wazee remains a prime destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts due to its beauty and pristine water. For more information about Lake Wazee please visit www.co.jackson.wi.us.
The Health Department would like to remind persons who are intending to swim at Lake Wazee and any other recreational waters to:
~ Wash their hands prior to eating,
~ Do not enter waters if you are ill,
~ Shower after swimming,
~ Avoid swimming after a heavy rain ,
~ Do not swallow water ,
~ Do not allowed soiled diapers in the water
~ Use restrooms as needed.
For further questions please contact the Health Department at 715-284-4301 ext. 372 or Jackson County Forestry and Parks at 715-284-8475.