Family Blames DNR for Skin Irritation After Boy Goes Swimming at Lake Keomah

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OSKALOOSA, Iowa  --  "It burns and itches," said 11 year-old Kiyren Jurgensen, describing the skin irritation (known as swimmer's itch)  he has been experiencing in recent days.

Jurgensen and his family say that pain is the result of going swimming on Friday in the waters of Lake Keomah. "We got out, and that night is when I started finding bumps on me," said Jurgensen.

Jurgensen went swimming with family members, but he was the only one of the bunch that had skin irritation.

"When we left from here he had, like, these bumps, just starting on his back," said Jurgensen's older sister Chasity Trotter. Trotter is upset with the Department of Natural Resources and blames the DNR for the negative reaction Jurgensen's skin has experienced.

In response, the DNR sent Channel 13 the following statement:

"Safety of those utilizing our lakes, designated swimming areas, beaches, and other amenities, as well as water quality, is a top priority for the DNR.

"Lake Keomah is one of the state’s beaches that is tested on a weekly basis for indicator bacteria, called E. Coli, as well as blue-green algal toxin, called microcystin. Last week’s test results indicated Lake Keomah is well below the indicator bacteria action levels, and microcystin toxin concentration was below detection. Based on that data, it is safe to swim at the beach at Lake Keomah.

"While thousands of people swim at the natural beaches across Iowa each year and do not contract any illnesses or rashes, because this is a natural body of water and is not treated with chemicals such as those used in swimming pools, the DNR warns there is always the possibility and suggests contacting a physician immediately.

"The DNR urges swimmers and other park-goers to always check the DNR website before making the trip to the beach to see the weekly status of the water. That information is available at: The beach monitoring results are released every Friday, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend."


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