Toddler in ICU After Testing Positive for E. Coli Following Swim in NorCal Lake; Other Children Hospitalized

A relative of a 3-year-old boy who was hospitalized with E. coli after swimming in a popular Northern California lake recently spoke out about the family's ordeal on Sunday.

According to the Nevada County Public Health Department, five children have gotten sick -- three of them testing positive for E. coli. The county says all of them had been swimming at Lake Wildwood beach near Grass Valley in Nevada County, KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento reported.

"He started coming down with symptoms earlier this week, around Monday or Tuesday. Real upset stomach, digestive issues, blood in his stool," Sara Dunn, the toddler's aunt told the station Sunday.

The family does not want to release his name, but Dunn says her sister -- the boy's mother -- took him to the lake last week. They went swimming near the clubhouse, which is where Nevada County public health officials believe the boy and four others were possibly exposed to E. Coli.

He "was taken to Sierra Nevada Tuesday, admitted to ICU shortly afterwards. And was admitted to UC Davis yesterday because he tested positive for E. coli and it's now affecting his kidneys," Dunn said.

The health department says five children became very ill, and three have now tested positive for E. coli. Dunn says her nephew knows at least one of the other sick boys, and she believes some adults are also being treated.

"They are friends, know each other. So, they very well might have been there the same day. But, yeah, the mother's also pregnant, who is also affected, and her son," Dunn said.

The health department has closed down the beach after water tested there had high levels of fecal coliforms, bacteria that can cause serious illness.

There are wastewater treatment plants near the lake, but the county public works department said it didn't find any leaks and the system appears to be working normally.

Dunn feels like more could have been done to prevent people getting sick.

"Alert residents, posting more signs on beaches, maybe caution don't swim," she said.

KTXL reported that while there were no swimmers at the lake Sunday, many people were boating and some were even fishing on it.

Meanwhile, Dunn hopes the community prays for her sister's family.

"I can't imagine the pain and stress. They're holding up OK, the best they can, but it has been hard for all of us," she said.