Woodward Lake is the kind of place meant for family fun.
But a birthday camping trip for the Lopez family of Stockton turned out to be anything but, all thanks to an uninvited guest.
“They said I had a 107 degree fever. Come to find out it was a bacteria in my stomach,” Luis Lopez said.
Lopez says that bacteria – campylobacter – started making him feel strange on June 7.
That was less than 24 hours after his family wrapped up their celebration at their favorite lake in Stanislaus County.
He tried to go to work the next day.
“I got to put stuff up on racks. Every time I would look up I got kinda dizzy,” he told FOX40. “I started getting chills, and it was really hot. Everybody else was hot and I was cold.”
A trip to the ER, followed by a six-day hospital stay.
“They kind of like isolated me cuz they didn’t know what it was. It took them about three days to grow the spore and where it came from. And they said it came from the water,” Lopez said.
Jami Aggers with the Stanislaus County Department of Parks and Recreation says her department’s only been alerted about this case through social media and is just starting to look at the situation.
There are some signs posted at some bathrooms warning visitors to swim at their own risk because of naturally occurring bacteria, but campers FOX40 found didn’t believe the bacteria could be that serious.
“We’d be shocked,” visitor Jay Bennett said.
If it was really serious, they thought the warnings would be more prominent.
“I’m surprised that they didn’t have more notification for us when we came in the door,” said one woman.
Lopez believes the parks department is letting families down.
“There’s still people going out there. Still business as usual out there, still making money on it. People are going to get sick and they don’t care,” he said.
Two other members of the Lopez family also became ill, but less severely than Luis.
They’re all taking a series of antibiotics.