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E. Coli found in area lakes not enough to close them

E. Coli found in area lakes (NTV News)

The most recent report commissioned by the Nebraska Department of Environmental quality shows that several Nebraska lakes have tested positive for E. coli bacteria.

On May 29 after swimming in a local river, a boy from Custer County tested positive for E. coli.

Johnson lake, Fort Kearny Lake, and Windmill Lake outside Gibbon all tested positive for small amounts of E. coli bacteria. The bacteria, which can be dangerous to humans at high concentrations, is actually normally found in every mammal.

Brandon Luedtke, a biology professor at UNK, said:

E.coli is a bacterium that usually inhabits your intestinal track that is found in most mammals and birds as well. They have E.coli in their intestinal track and it just makes up part of the natural bacteria that is residing in them.

So far E. coli levels in area lakes have stayed under amounts that would require a shutdown of the lakes, with only one lake in Southeastern Nebraska measuring dangerous amounts of the bacteria.

Experts said it's smart to be on the watch for symptoms of E. coli, which usually presents itself as an intestinal issue.

"Definitely get a fever, you will see loose stools to really watery diarrhea. In sever cases you will have bloody diarrhea and the pathogen will move to your kidneys," said Luedtke.

The Department of Environmental Quality will be testing 54 different lakes across Nebraska every week this summer to look for E. coli and that information will be updated every week on their website.

To see a list of the lakes being tested and their most recent levels of E. Coli please visit the Department of Environmental Qualities website.

To follow this story and all of Alex Whitney's local news coverage, find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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