July 28, 2014 6:54 pm
Updated: July 28, 2014 6:55 pm

Mom suspects Birds Hill beach water made child sick

A Winnipeg mom believes her toddler became very ill from lake water at Birds Hill Park beach, though the province's latest test results show the water is "acceptable."

Holly Alexandruk

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg mom believes her toddler became very ill from lake water at Birds Hill Park beach, though the province’s latest test results show the water is “acceptable” and officials say there have been no confirmed cases of E. coli.

Alicia Labossiere was at the beach with her son Luke, 2, on July 19th and 20th. The toddler later became very ill with diarrhea. When Alicia found blood in his diaper she rushed Luke to the hospital. After two days at Children’s, doctors said the toddler likely had E. coli and salmonella but couldn’t confirm the source. Luke was hospitalized for two days.

“We did the math and the only thing it could have been is when we were at Birds Hill Park, he had swallowed a little bit of water.” Labossiere said.”A friend of mine also had a sick kid after going to the beach,” she added.

2-year-old Luke in hospital. His mother Alicia Labossiere believes water at Birds Hill Park made the toddler sick.

Facebook/Alicia Labossiere

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According to the province’s beach monitoring web page, the water at the west and central beaches at Birds Hill Park was last checked July 14 and showed an average E. coli density of 10 CFU/100 ml, a rating of “beach acceptable” and far below the “recreational water quality objective” of 200 CFU/100 ml.

University of Manitoba agriculture professor Rick Holley says the 10 CFU/100 ml level is considered safe: though it still means that for every 1000 people, 10-20 could have gastrointestinal issues due to E. Coli.

Holley says water quality can change quickly, and the province should increase monitoring: every week 5 samples should be taken from every Manitoba recreational water source, he says.

“I just want people to be aware that the water can make your child very sick.  I don’t want anyone else having to go through what I went through. It was so scary,” said Labossiere.

A provincial spokesman released this information late Monday:

  • Regular provincial monitoring has not revealed an E. coli issue at Birds Hill Provincial Park.
  • Another sample will be taken this week, with test results taking between 24 and 48 hours.
  • If the sample is above the guideline, another test is performed immediately and the province waits for results again to confirm the above-guideline results before posting warning signs at the beach.
  • The last sample was taken about two weeks ago and was well below the recreational water quality guideline of 200 CFU/ 100mL, with densities ranging between 10 and 11 CFU/ 100mL.
  • There have been no confirmed cases of E. coli from this body of water reported to the province as of this time.‎

Alicia Labossiere and her 2-year-old son Luke

Holly Alexandruk
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