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FORT LOUDON, Pa. (AP) — A state-owned lake was closed to swimming, boating, fishing and all other recreational activities until further notice because of an outbreak of bacterial infections.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources barred people from the 42-acre lake at Cowans Gap State Park at the end of the business day on Tuesday after confirming six cases of E. coli infection and three other probable infections among people who swam there. The park is about 60 miles west of Harrisburg in Fulton County, just south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The infection cases involved patients from 2 to 49 years old, said Terry Brady, DCNR deputy press secretary. One affected child was from Maryland, the rest from central Pennsylvania.
The agency said all nine people swam in the lake between July 12 and July 31. There is no evidence the park’s drinking water was contaminated.
Brady said more intensive water testing was planned, and a team consisting of DCNR, Health Department and Department of Environmental Protection workers was at the site on Wednesday to investigate.
The lake was briefly closed to swimmers following a high E. coli reading on July 17, but was reopened a day later when the recorded level dropped to within acceptable limits.
The Department of Health recommended any park visitors who have had diarrhea contact their doctor, local health department or the state agency, at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
The 1,085-acre Cowan’s Gap State Park gets about 440,000 visitors a year and has two beaches, a campground, cabins and hiking trails.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)