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It's been exceptionally warm in Minnesota lately, but this is ONE lake you DO NOT want to take a dip in to cool off... as 60 people did and promptly became ill.

Here in the North Star State, most of us usually can't wait until the weather warms up enough for us to enjoy of those 10,000 Lakes for which our state is known. Which is just what many people did... and then promptly got horribly sick.

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It all happened at Schulze Lake at Lebanon Hill Regional Park in Dakota County, and is so bad, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has temporarily closed the swimming area there and banned anyone from even going in the lake right now. That includes your pets too.

It's all because MDH believes the lake is the source of an outbreak of norovirus. 60 people have reported symptoms similar to norovirus after having been in the lake over the past 3 to 4 days. And, it's not fun stuff they're experiencing, either, like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach cramps.  MDH says they're still working to confirm just which pathogen is present in the lake right now, but those symptoms point to a strain of norovirus.

Google Street View
Schulze Lake Beach at Lebanon Hills Regional Park (Google Street View)
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According to an MDH release, it's not a pretty picture of just how those germs get in the lake in the first place. MDH waterborne disease supervisor Trisha Robinson explained that norovirus is spread by the fecal-oral route, which means that people who have been ill shed the virus in their stool.

'Very small amounts of virus can be left on people’s bottoms, who then go in the water, and people nearby can ingest the virus with small amounts of water as they swim. That’s why we always advise that people who have been ill not go in the water,' Robinson said in the release

MDH recommends that if YOU have experienced similar symptoms or have been sick after swimming at Schulze Lake, you can contact the Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at 651-201-5655 or email health.foodill@state.mn.us.

And, as a rule of thumb during Minnesota's summer lake season, MDH also says you should stay out of any water until at least 72 hours after symptoms go away.

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