The Cowans Gap E. coli O157:H7 outbreak this summer, thought to be associated with swimming at the lake, caused a lot of suffering. At least 15 ill, and according to press accounts, over half of those developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS.
Two-year-old Madisyn Myers (at left, at the Cowan’s Gap beach) was one of those cases. Fortunately, she did not develop HUS, but she was sick enough to be hospitalized. As reported by Jennifer Fitch at the Hagerstown Herald Mail, “Madisyn Myers visited the park with her father and about 20 other people in the last weekend of July, according to her mother [Michelle]. The child was the only person from that group who was sickened.
Madisyn underwent stool and urine samples, catheterization and a day in the hospital. She lost four pounds, but the bacteria did not damage her kidneys as her mother feared.
“Monday was like a celebration for us,” Michelle Myers said of receiving good test results.
Because the 42-acre lake is usually “swim at your own risk,” it does not have a set season or official closing date on a usual year, Brady said.
Testing on Aug. 15 showed E. coli bacteria in untreated water from one of the park’s two wells. Officials said that bacteria was not from the E. coli O157 strain, but they shut down the well temporarily, chlorinated the water and issued a boil-water advisory that has since been lifted.”