By Steve Large

CALAVERAS COUNTY (CBS13) – A local lake left one family itching for answers after being infected by something they believe is lurking in the lake.

New Hogan Lake is near Valley Springs in Calaveras County. Inside the Freeman family home, all they wanted was a cool retreat from the heat, but what they say they got was nothing close to relief.

“Looked at my legs and I had red spots all over it; looked like I had chicken pox,” said Jennifer Freeman.

Freeman and her family are now taking antibiotics.

“Told us to take it twice a day for, I think, seven days,” said Freeman. “When they started, they looked like little blisters.”

Mom, dad and daughter are covered in dots.

“The water was crystal clear. It was beautiful,” said Freeman.

The Freemans believe their sores are from the shores of New Hogan Lake. It’s majestic and shimmering on the surface, but likely home to some unsettling substances.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers controls New Hogan Lake and has been monitoring itching complaints.

A spokesperson told CBS13 that 11 in at least 65,000 visitors have complained of itching symptoms like the Freeman’s this summer.

“Let people know, swim at your own risk,” said Freeman.

Despite the small percentage of swimmers with symptoms, park rangers will now post a warning before this weekend. Take a splash and you may get a rash.

“Our cheap weekend wasn’t cheap. It ended up costing copay and prescription; so, it wasn’t a cheap weekend,” said Freeman.

The Freemans have a new plan to keep cool this weekend: crank up the fan indoors.

Park rangers believe the increased bacteria in the lake are natural, possibly from an increase in waterfowl activity.


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