Updated: 3:45 p.m. | Posted: 2:10 p.m.
The Minnesota Department of Health announced Friday it has identified 49 illnesses that are linked to a recent outbreak of E. coli at Lake Nokomis. Three of those cases, in children, were confirmed by lab tests earlier in the week.
The department said the remaining suspected cases involve people who became ill with diarrhea after swimming at the Minneapolis lake.
"They meet our case definition that we use during an outbreak situation. So, we do not know for sure that these additional individuals have this same strain of E. coli. These are just individuals who also report diarrhea,” said Trisha Robinson, supervisor for the Health Department’s Waterborne Diseases Unit.
The department said most of the new cases were identified through a survey sent to swimmers who used the beaches from mid-July through mid-August. Visitors to Nokomis during that time are still being asked to fill out the survey.
So far, no one has been hospitalized.
As a result of the large group of suspected cases, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board said Nokomis beaches will remain closed for the rest of the swimming season, out of an abundance of caution.
Despite the closure, the the board notes that there are still seven Minneapolis beaches open through Labor Day. There are also dozens of pools open.
However, health officials stress that anyone who has diarrhea should not go swimming in any body of water.