Winnipeg water system investigated following January boil water advisory

Pathogens being pumped throughout a city into cups, food and showers make water system outbreaks scary in scope and outcome. In 1993 an estimated 400,000+ people in Milwaukee had cryptosporidiosis after oocysts made it through the city’s water treatment filtration system. In 2000, seven deaths and 2,300 illnesses were linked to a negligently-managed water system in Walkerton, Ontario (that’s in Canada).Price of Water Set To Rise

Winnipeg, Manitoba (that’s also in Canada) had a boil water advisory for a couple of days last month that was blamed on a set of samples that falsely showed the water was positive for E. coli. Canadian food micro guru Rick Holley said a couple of weeks ago questioned the water folk’s explanation saying,

“I still had concerns at that time and still do that the false positives might not be scientifically discredited,” said Holley. “It’s all too easy to continue testing until you get the results you want and any results you don’t want you discard as being false. That’s inappropriate.”

Holley said the only way to be sure Winnipeg water is safe is to understand what caused the positive results earlier this week.

“Why were those six samples positive? There has to be a reason why and that has to be established,” said Holley.

According to Global News, it sounds like the Manitoba Government agrees with Rick.

The Manitoba government has ordered an investigation into the susceptibility of Winnipeg’s drinking water after a false E. coli result prompted a boil-water advisory last month for the capital’s 700,000 residents.

City staff say they are confident the water system was not contaminated with bacteria, but the waste and water director says the province has ordered a further assessment.

“It’s a vulnerability assessment,” Diane Sacher told a city council committee Wednesday. “It’s to look at whether our system is vulnerable to possible contamination.”

The report is due at the end of April, Sacher said. The city is also waiting on an independent audit of how water samples are taken and analyzed so as to be sure last month’s results were due to a lab or sampling error.

The province has also amended the city’s licence so water samples are no longer all collected on the same day, but rather spread over a week, she added. It has also requested the city come up with a better plan to notify potentially vulnerable people rather than relying on the media.

69 sick: Water supply causes mass hepatitis A infection in Russia

Water supply companies in Russia’s republic of Dagestan are facing a criminal investigation after 69 people became infected with Hepatitis A from drinking water.

dangerous_face_waterAn online statement posted Thursday by Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said that cases were recorded in three different places in the North Caucasus republic: the towns of Derbent and Dagestanskiye Ogni and the village of Gedzhukh. Fifty-eight of those infected were children.

The victims all complained of feeling generally ill and noticing a yellow tint to the skin, the RGVK Dagestan television channel reported.

Laboratory testing indicated that the local water supply was to blame for the outbreak, according to the statement, noting that all the victims received their drinking water from the same water main.

Poop-in-water made me sick says CSIRO employee; nope says Tribunal

A CSIRO spin doctor who says she contracted a virus after drinking water contaminated with feces at a conference has lost her bid for compensation.

water.jug.feb.15The Administrative Appeals Tribunal found federal workplace insurer Comcare had no liability for her ill-health as it could not be certain the type of virus, where it had been contracted, or if it could cause chronic fatigue syndrome.

Sasha Hardcastle reported flu-like symptoms on the third day of the 2012 conference and was rushed to hospital a week later with chest pain.

Mrs Hardcastle saw a number of doctors when her health did not improve over the following months, and was diagnosed with post viral fatigue and CFS.

She claimed that she had contracted Coxsackie B virus at the conference after she drank water contaminated with feces due to the jug being filled from the hand basin in the ladies’ toilets.

The communications manager took her case to the tribunal after Comcare rejected her compensation claim.

There is no dispute Ms Hardcastle suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome.

simpsons.aust.toiletsBut Comcare did not accept that the illness had been caused by her employment or that she contracted Coxsackie B virus at the conference.

Medical experts agreed that the chances of catching Coxsackie B virus from a jug filled from the tap in a hand basin located in a toilet facility were so low that they would both be comfortable drinking the water.

Bill Gates and Jimmy Fallon face off in a poop water taste test on ‘The Tonight Show’

On a recent episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, host Jimmy Fallon was challenged to a poop water taste test by philanthropist Bill Gates. In a scene reminiscent of The Princess Bride, Gates presented Fallon with two glasses of water, one containing bottled water, and the other containing water processed from sewage by the Janicki Omniprocessor.

As we’ve written previously, the Janicki Omniprocessor was developed as a way to cheaply and cleanly process sewage in developing nations while also providing power and clean drinking water. Earlier this year, a video released by Gates featured a demonstration of the Janicki Omniprocessor which included Gates sampling the water.

Lagos vs. Wisconsin: E. coli in dinking water and stools

Since early detection of pathogens and their virulence factors contribute to intervention and control strategies, we assessed the enteropathogens in diarrhea disease and investigated the link between toxigenic strains of Escherichia coli from stool and drinking-water sources; and determined the expression of toxin genes by antibiotic-resistant E. coli in Lagos, Nigeria. This was compared with isolates from diarrhoeal stool and water from Wisconsin, USA.

 lagos.waterThe new Luminex xTAG GPP (Gastroplex) technique and conventional real-time PCR were used to profile enteric pathogens and E. coli toxin gene isolates, respectively. Results showed the pathogen profile of stool and indicated a relationship between E. coli toxin genes in water and stool from Lagos which was absent in Wisconsin isolates.

The Gastroplex technique was efficient for multiple enteric pathogens and toxin gene detection. The co-existence of antibiotic resistance with enteroinvasive E. coli toxin genes suggests an additional prognostic burden on patients.

Preponderance of toxigenic Escherichia coli in stool pathogens correlates with toxin detection in accessible drinking-water sources

Epidemiology and Infection / Volume 143 / Issue 03 / February 2015, pp 494-504

H. Igbokwe, S. Bhattacharyya, S. Gradus, M. Khubbar, D. Grisowld, J. Navidad, C. Igwilo, D. Masson-Meyers and A.A. Azenabor

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9527892&utm_source=Issue_Alert&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=HYG&utm_reader=feedly

7 sickened with E. coli and Campy from manure-in-wells in Wisconsin

A young family visiting Door County for a weekend in mid-September were the subject of a public health investigation when they returned to their Calumet County home and their four-month-old daughter came down with an illness that was identified as E. coli bacteria from a bovine source.

Garden_Decoration__Well_“The department of health got involved. They asked me where I was. That was several phone calls, to try to narrow it down,” said the infant’s mother (she asked that we not use their names).

It turns out the family had stayed that weekend at a West Jacksonport home now identified as in the area of concern for well contamination after a Sept. 8 manure spreading session that included spreading into a sinkhole. This was the Monday after torrential rains wreaked havoc and saturated the landscape.
“I used well water to make her bottles,” she said. “No odor or color to the water. There was no sign.”

And there was no sign in the baby that she was ill until the family returned to their Calumet County home. Then she started exhibiting signs of food poisoning and was brought in for a medical examination, where it was determined that she was infected with E. coli.

“The department of health nurse said since the E. coli was combined with a campylobacter bacteria, that’s really indicative of a bovine source. They were able to track it to the source based on the type of bacteria in the water.”

The mother said she does not understand why manure spreading is not more regulated.

“Especially with the fractured bedrock and shallow soil. It doesn’t take much for it to get in the groundwater.”

Reporting on the West Jacksonport well contamination at the Nov. 10 meeting of the Door County Board of Health, Door County Health Officer Rhonda Kolberg said drinking manure-contaminated well water in the area of concern after Sept. 8 sickened a total of seven people.

“They were spreading as they normally would. They spread into a sinkhole, which they should not have done,” Kolberg said. “We found out about it because the people with the affected well called DNR, and their water was brown and foamy.”

Mark Borchardt, the U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist who helped track down the 2007 source of contamination at The Log Den when 211 customers and 18 employees were struck with gastro-intestinal illness from norovirus at the recently opened restaurant (the outbreak was eventually traced to the restaurant’s new septic system), did the viral testing of the West Jacksonport wells.

“He was trying to find a correlation between manure and the water,” Kolberg said. “He did determine it was bovine contamination.”

E coli cases set to rise as more opt to use well water in Ireland

‘Are ye still using your own well?” At least once a year my sister Rose asks us this question when she visits. As I nod my head in acquiescence, she inevitability shakes hers in disbelief.

well.waterDr Rose FitzGerald is a Specialist in Public Health Medicine with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and she and her colleagues are the ones who deal at a management level with outbreaks of infection such as those which can occur from drinking contaminated well water.

Outside of this glitch in our character Rose would know us as not otherwise unreasonable people but so frustrated has she become by this behaviour of ours and others in drinking untreated well water than she has come up with the following analogy.

“Drinking your own water while giving system water to the cattle is akin to a dairy farmer drinking milk from his bulk tank while feeding pasteurised milk to his calves.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 720,000 people in Ireland, 17pc of the population, concentrated in rural areas, get their water from private wells. But those who contract VTEC infections are more than twice as likely to have drank well water than the population as a whole. Moreover, as Rose points out, investigations regularly find the exact same organism in the well as in the humans who have been sick.

91 now sick from Norovirus suspected at UK pirate ship lake

A Norovirus outbreak saw a Devon holiday park temporarily close.

BTSKeithandJohnnyAWESeveral holidaymakers fell ill with suspected norovirus in the last fortnight. 

River Dart Country Park, in Ashburton, said that 91 cases of sickness and diarrhea had been reported by visitors to the outdoor activity resort since Friday, August 8.

Following an announcement that water tests were taking place, the park manager closed the site to allow “further investigation”. 

It was due to open today.

On Tuesday, managing director Mark Simpson issued a statement on the park’s website announcing he had made a decision to close the site after a discussion with the Environmental Health Agency and PHE.

Over 1000 sick from Norovirus at four Finland beaches

The City of Tampere has announced on its web-page that its officials have removed the signs advising people against swimming in the four lakes linked to a recent outbreak of a stomach virus – Tohloppijärvi, Tesomajärvi, Suolijärvi and Kaukajärvi.

norovirus.swimOverall, over one thousand people fell ill with a stomach bug in Tampere. The city also revealed on Tuesday that traces of norovirus were found in the majority of stool samples taken from the affected swimmers.

40 sick, Norovirus suspected at UK pirate ship lake

Public Health officials have confirmed that they suspect Norovirus is the cause of an outbreak of sickness at the River Dart Country Park.

hookmain630Over the weekend more than 40 cases were reported at the holiday park near Ashburton after holidaymakers reported similar symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea.

The pirate ship lake at the holiday park near Ashburton has been drained and closed while the source of the sickness bug is investigated.

The owners of the holiday park confirmed that 40 cases had been reported by Saturday, with five more on Sunday and one on Monday.

Samples and specimens were passed to South Hams District Council Environmental Health department. Results of tests are expected in two days’ time.