MASSILLON, Ohio — A woman from Massillon is blaming bacteria in Turkeyfoot Lake for an illness and rash she got after swimming in the lake over a four-day period last week, according to News 5 media partner Ohio.com.
Tamara “Tami” Mackey said for four days in a row, she made the 20-minute drive to the Portage Lakes State Park beach for some fun in the sun.
Mackey said became sick when she was exposed to what state officials have confirmed were unhealthy levels of bacteria. She told Ohio.com that she began to experience a burning sensation while at the lake with a friend.
Her friend also voiced the same symptoms, saying her lips were on fire.
“We’re packing up our stuff and my stomach, my breasts, I’m on fire,” Mackey told Ohio.com. “About 10 minutes up the road, I’m sitting at a light and I feel like I have 500 bees stinging me. We get [farther up] the road and it’s like 1,000 bees stinging me.”
A spokesperson for the Columbus office of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said the agency reported an abnormally high E. coli bacterial count in its July 17 sample.
Officials consider 235 colony-forming units per 100 ml to be the maximum for safe human exposure. The count was 686 cfu/ml in the July sample.
ODNR says signs are posted at the beach when high bacterial counts are found. Mackey is adamant that there were no signs in place during the four days she was at the beach.
Mackey took a water sample of the lake and plant to have it tested.
“You cannot tell me that they’re testing correctly,” she told Ohio.com. “There is no way.”