Thursday, June 13, 2024

Cryptosporidium: All About The Parasite That Has Cause Diarrhoea Outbreak In UK Town

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The water company has apologised for causing the disease outbreak.

People in Devon, southern England, have been battling a diarrhoea-type illness, blamed on a faulty valve that may have allowed a parasite to make its way into the water network. According to the BBC, 22 cases of cryptosporidiosis were confirmed in Brixham on Wednesday, with more than 100 people having reported symptoms to the doctors in the last week. A primary school in the locality has announced closure saying running operations without drinking water was not possible, the outlet further said.

Cryptosporidiosis is caused by the parasite cryptosporidium, which can be found in water, food, soil or on surfaces or dirty hands that have been contaminated with the faeces of infected humans or animals.

According to UK health officials, such outbreaks prolong diarrhoea and can affect up to 6,000 people, as per the BBC.

Meanwhile, South West Water (SWW) has apologised for the faulty valve that caused the disease outbreak in Devon. CEO Susan Davy told the BBC that her company would “not stop working until the situation has been resolved”.

“Our ground technicians have been working around the clock to identify the source of the contamination and rectify the situation so we can resume a normal water supply,” she said.

“To those in the affected area and our customers across the South West, I am truly sorry for the disruption and wider anxiety this has caused. While incidents like these are thankfully very rare, our customers expect a safe, clean, and reliable source of drinking water,” the CEO added.

SWW has asked its customers to boil the water before consuming it.

What is cryptosporidium?

Cryptosporidium, also called crypto, is a microscopic parasite that can cause a respiratory and gastrointestinal illness that primarily involves watery diarrhoea, sometimes with a persistent cough.

The symptoms of the disease it causes include stomach pains, nausea or vomiting, low-grade fever and loss of appetite. Most people develop symptoms within one to 12 days of picking up the parasite.

The symptoms usually last for about two weeks, but can last longer if the immune system is not working properly. In such cases, the parasite causes severe disease and can be fatal.

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