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Illnesses Reported Over July 4th Weekend Potentially Linked To Lake Minnetonka

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hennepin County Public Health is investigating several reports of illness possibly connected to Big Island in Lake Minnetonka.

Summer holidays and Lake Minnetonka go hand in hand for many Minnesotans.

Austin Hilgenberg, along with family and friends, lined their boat up with dozens more to celebrate the Fourth of July at Big Island. But fun memories aren't all they left with this year.

"So, I started feeling really nauseous probably the morning of the 7, three days after the Fourth of July," Hilgenberg said. "I had symptoms that are very similar to food poisoning."

Hilgenberg said he was cramping, vomiting and had diarrhea.

"I mean, it's the full nine yards," Hilgenberg said.

He says the majority of his group had the same sickness even though they didn't eat the same foods.

"Well, I know I was fully submerged in the water, and I actually had my girlfriend on my shoulders and she wasn't in the water and she didn't get sick," Hilgenberg said.

Hilgenberg went to the doctor and says he was told his symptoms were similar to an E. coli infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, the sickness typically happens three or four days after exposure and could come from drinking contaminated water, including lakes.

Hennepin County Public Health says they've yet to identify a source of sickness but want people with similar symptoms to contact them.

"So, I spoke with Minnesota Department of Public Health this morning, told them some of my symptoms and they had me send in the names of the individuals who were on my boat," Hilgenberg said.

Hilgenberg was advised to rest up and drink fluids – the only remedy to make his illness drift away.

"For now, I'm gonna just take it easy and hopefully it's smooth sailing," Hilgenberg said.

At the doctor, Hilgenberg gave a stool sample and had his bloodwork done. He's hoping to get the results back soon.

Anyone who went to Big Island and experienced similar symptoms is asked to call 612-543-5230.

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