Crypto compensation: United Utilities faces £15m bill

United Utilities accepts it is facing a colossal compensation bill for the first cryptosporidium contamination of drinking water in the North West UK this century.

poop-in-poolBut the company has reassured consumers the payouts – estimated already at £15m and mounting – will not be offset by a rise in water bills.

“Bills will not increase to cover the cost of compensation,” insisted a spokesman.

“This cost will be borne by the company.”

With more than 300,000 households and businesses hit by the scare, now into its third week, United Utilities has declined to put a figure on how much the crypto invasion will amount to.

But in a recent case in Bolton, where consumers had to boil their drinking water for five days after supply problems, the company paid out £15 per house to cover the cost.

With the inconvenience to customers in Preston, South Ribble, Chorley, the Fylde Coast and villages like Samlesbury, Mellor and Mellor Brook at least three times that already, claims could amount to at least £45 a household, or £13.5m in total.

With businesses set to lodge much higher demands for compensation after providing bottled water to all employees during the scare – BAE Systems is thought to have spent more than £100,000 already on keeping its 10,000-strong workforce in Lancashire hydrated – the bill is estimated to be rising by £1m a day.

‘It’s something in the pool. But I’m not a doctor’ Hundreds of Dutch tourists fall ill in Macedonia

Dozens of Dutch tourists are spending their holiday in Macedonia in the bathroom rather than at the pool or the beach. A mysterious virus from the nearby Skopje has two-thirds of the Dutch tourists in the Izgrev Spa & Aqua Park in Ohrid stuck in their hotel rooms.

the Izgrev Spa & Aqua Park in OhridThe hotel has room for about 700 guests, 332 of them are Dutch tourists who traveled through travel agency Corendon. So far only about 20 people reported to the company that they were sick. All of them were treated for diarrhea. CEO Atilay Uslu told the Telegraaf that the virus has to do with “something in the pool. But I’m not a doctor.”

Irrigation water, produce and pathogens

The microbiological sanitary quality and safety of leafy greens and strawberries were assessed in the primary production in Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Norway and Spain by enumeration of Escherichia coli and detection of Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and Campylobacter.

strawberryWater samples were more prone to containing pathogens (54 positives out of 950 analyses) than soil (16/1186) and produce on the field (18/977 for leafy greens and 5/402 for strawberries). The prevalence of pathogens also varied markedly according to the sampling region. Flooding of fields increased the risk considerably, with odds ratio (OR) 10.9 for Salmonella and 7.0 for STEC.

A significant association between elevated numbers of generic E. coli and detection of pathogens (OR of 2.3 for STEC and 2.7 for Salmonella) was established. Generic E. coli was found to be a suitable index organism for Salmonella and STEC, but to a lesser extent for Campylobacter. Guidelines on frequency of sampling and threshold values for E. coli in irrigation water may differ from region to region. 

Risk Factors for Salmonella, shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Campylobacter occurrence in primary production of leafy greens and strawberries

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Siele Ceuppens, Gro S. Johannessen, Ana Allende, Eduardo César Tondo,  Fouad El-Tahan, Imca Sampers, Liesbeth Jacxsens, and  Mieke Uyttendaele

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/8/9809

Biosensor platform for rapid detection of E. coli in drinking water

The need for rapid, specific and sensitive assays that provide a detection of bacterial indicators are important for monitoring water quality. Rapid detection using biosensor is a novel approach for microbiological testing applications. Besides, validation of rapid methods is an obstacle in adoption of such new bio-sensing technologies.

drinking.water.e.coliIn this study, the strategy developed is based on using the compound 4-methylumbelliferyl glucuronide (MUG), which is hydrolyzed rapidly by the action of E. coli β-D-glucuronidase (GUD) enzyme to yield a fluorogenic product that can be quantified and directly related to the number of E. coli cells present in water samples. The detection time required for the biosensor response ranged from 30 to 120 minutes, depending on the number of bacteria. The specificity of the MUG based biosensor platform assay for the detection of E. coli was examined by pure cultures of non-target bacterial genera and also non-target substrates. GUD activity was found to be specific for E. coli and no such enzymatic activity was detected in other species. Moreover, the sensitivity of rapid enzymatic assays was investigated and repeatedly determined to be less than 10 E. coli cells per reaction vial concentrated from 100 mL of water samples.

The applicability of the method was tested by performing fluorescence assays under pure and mixed bacterial flora in environmental samples. In addition, the procedural QA/QC for routine monitoring of drinking water samples have been validated by comparing the performance of the biosensor platform for the detection of E. coli and culture-based standard techniques such as Membrane Filtration (MF). The results of this study indicated that the fluorescence signals generated in samples using specific substrate molecules can be utilized to develop a bio-sensing platform for the detection of E. coli in drinking water. The procedural QA/QC of the biosensor will provide both industry and regulatory authorities a useful tool for near real-time monitoring of E. coli in drinking water samples. Furthermore, this system can be applied independently or in conjunction with other methods as a part of an array of biochemical assays in order to reliably detect E. coli in water.

Biosensor platform for rapid detection of E. coli in drinking water

Arizona State University Digital Repository

Hesari, Nikou / Abbaszadegan, Morteza / Alum, Absar / Fox, Peter  / Stout, Valerie

http://repository.asu.edu/items/34809

UV equipment brought in to kill off crypto

Water bosses are bringing in ultra violet ray equipment to help kill off cryptosporidium in the water supply which has affected over 300,000 Lancashire residents.


Lancashire.water_
United Utilities is to use the portable UV rigs at three sites on the Fylde which it says should make a difference and help kill off cryptosporidium. The equipment, which consists of powerful fluorescent UV lights shining in a tank through which water passes, will be used on water leaving the Warbreck, Weeton and Westby service reservoir outlets.

The UV C rays attack the DNA of the parasite killing it rapidly. It also works on other potentially harmful microbes such as e-coli. John Butcher, UU’s regional supplies manager, said: “Cryoptosporidium is very vulnerable to this UV C light. The normal treatment process at Franklaw deals with it and the water coming out of there is clear, but we have brought this in to deal with the water now going through the system.”

Gary Dixon UU’s customer services director said they had identified a possible source for the contamination but had to wait for the Drinking Water Inspectorate’s official report.

Surveillance for waterborne disease outbreaks associated with drinking water – United States, 2011-2012

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly that advances in water management and sanitation have substantially reduced waterborne disease in the United States, although outbreaks continue to occur (1). Public health agencies in the U.S. states and territories* report information on waterborne disease outbreaks to the CDC Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System (http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/index.html).

water.wellFor 2011–2012, 32 drinking water–associated outbreaks were reported, accounting for at least 431 cases of illness, 102 hospitalizations, and 14 deaths. Legionella was responsible for 66% of outbreaks and 26% of illnesses, and viruses and non-Legionella bacteria together accounted for 16% of outbreaks and 53% of illnesses. The two most commonly identified deficiencies† leading to drinking water–associated outbreaks were Legionella in building plumbing§ systems (66%) and untreated groundwater (13%). Continued vigilance by public health, regulatory, and industry professionals to identify and correct deficiencies associated with building plumbing systems and groundwater systems could prevent most reported outbreaks and illnesses associated with drinking water systems.

This report provides information on drinking water–associated¶ waterborne disease outbreaks in which the first illness occurred in 2011 or 2012** (http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/drinking-surveillance-reports.html), and summarizes outbreaks reported to the Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System through the electronic National Outbreak Reporting System (http://www.cdc.gov/nors/about.html) as of October 30, 2014. For an event to be defined as a waterborne disease outbreak, two or more persons must be linked epidemiologically by time, location of water exposure, and case illness characteristics; and the epidemiologic evidence must implicate water as the probable source of illness. Data submitted for each outbreak include 1) the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths; 2) the etiologic agent (confirmed or suspected); 3) the implicated water system; 4) contributing factors in the outbreak; and 5) the setting of exposure.

Karlyn D. Beer, PhD1,2; Julia W. Gargano, PhD2; Virginia A. Roberts, MSPH2; Vincent R. Hill, PhD2; Laurel E. Garrison, MPH3; Preeta K. Kutty, MD3; Elizabeth D. Hilborn, DVM4; Timothy J. Wade, PhD4; Kathleen E. Fullerton, MPH2; Jonathan S. Yoder, MPH, MSW2

Crypto in UK water supply, 300K homes affected

More than 300,000 homes in Lancashire have been told that they may have to boil their drinking water after a microbial parasite was discovered in their supply.

Lancashire.waterUnited Utilities, which provides water and sewage services to around seven million people in North West England, found traces of the parasite cryptosporidium at Franklaw water treatment works near Preston, during routine tests.

Cryptosporidium can cause gastrointestinal illness with diarrhoea in humans. The parasite can cause acute, short-term infections, but symptoms can become severe in children and people with low immune systems.

The alert was initially issued by United Utilities last Thursday but the company have advised customers in Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Preston, South Ribble and Wyre to continue carrying out precautions till at least Wednesday as “low” levels of the parasite still remain in the supply.

90 sick after swimming at Pennsylvania park

I don’t know what it is about Cowans Gap State Park’s beach and lake.

cowan_gap_state_park_lake(3)In 2011, at least 18 people were sickened with E. coli O157.

Now, the beach and lake is closed again as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues to investigate what sickened people the weekend of July 18.

The latest information from the state said more than 90 people might have fallen ill after swimming in the lake in Fulton County. The estimate in an initial news release was “more than two dozen cases.

Department of Health spokeswoman Amy Worden said Monday she did not have an update on what caused the sickness. Epidemiologists and lab technicians are studying stool samples.

Beaches closed after 29 swimmers sickened with Norovirus, at Pennsylvania park

State officials have closed the beaches at a central Pennsylvania state park after at least 29 swimmers were sickened with Norovirus, and possibly E. coli bacteria in the water.

Cowans Gap State ParkThe lake and beach at Cowans Gap State Park have been closed to swimmers, though fishing and boating are still permitted. The park straddles the border of Franklin and Fulton counties and is located about 60 miles west of Harrisburg.

Animals poop in water: Georgia’s rural landscapes pose potential risk for Salmonella infection

Researchers from the University of Georgia have determined that various freshwater sources in Georgia, such as rivers and lakes, could feature levels of salmonella that pose a risk to humans. The study is featured in the July edition of PLOS One.

raccoon3Faculty and students from four colleges and five departments at UGA partnered with colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health to establish whether or not strains of salmonella exhibit geographic trends that might help to explain differences in rates of human infection.

“In this study, salmonella isolated from water and wildlife were collected over a period of 10 years from distinct rural areas in Georgia, both geographically–north versus south–and in terms of prevalence of salmonellosis in humans–lower versus higher. Because Georgia has some of the highest case rates for reported salmonella infections in the nation, this was an ideal area to begin to examine the ecology of salmonella,” said study co-author Erin Lipp, a professor of environmental health sciences in the UGA College of Public Health.

Salmonella infections are one of the top causes of gastrointestinal disease in the U.S., and while regulatory agencies have made progress in reducing foodborne transmission of the pathogen, other infection sources, including exposure to water, have not been as thoroughly examined.

To complete this research, the scholars collected samples from two different geographic regions of Georgia–the low-lying coastal plain and the piedmont, which is higher in elevation. Data was collected from six stations in the Little River watershed near Tifton, which has one of the highest case rates for salmonellosis in the state, and along the North Oconee River in Jackson County, a lower case rate area in Georgia. Water samples from all sites were gathered from December 2010 to November 2011. Samples from surrounding wildlife were also collected, and archived samples from these areas dating back to 2005 were also included.

Most significantly, the research team found that water sources could be an underestimated source of salmonella exposure to humans. Though the frequency that salmonella was found in north and south Georgia was similar, salmonella strains with DNA fingerprints matching those found in humans were more commonly found in south Georgia.

Specifically, rural areas of south Georgia had matches between the environment and humans at the 90 percent rate for salmonella Muenchen, a strain commonly associated with human cases. The researchers also found that wildlife, especially small mammals like raccoons and opossums frequenting these freshwater sources, could be carriers of the salmonella pathogen.

“Salmonella is a highly diverse and apparently well-adapted bacterium in the Southeastern U.S., and environmental exposures may be important in understanding and eventually mitigating risk from this agent,” Lipp said.

By studying how salmonella interacts with its environment, the UGA team hopes to gain a better understanding of how it can be controlled. They are interested in continuing their work on this issue by further examining the linkage between animals, humans and their shared environments to determine how the bacteria moves through various host organisms. The researchers also hope to explore the impact of different variables in salmonella’s physical environment, such as the role of climate and weather.

The study is available online at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0128937.