ALL of UK is at risk from Devon dirty water bug which causes weeks of diarrhoea & ‘childbirth-like’ cramps, expert warns

THE whole of the UK is at risk from the Devon dirty water bug, an expert has warned.

The UK Health Security Agency is investigating 22 cases of cryptosporidium in South Devon – with hundreds more feared ill.

The whole of the UK is at risk from the Devon dirty water bug cryptosporidium, an expert has warned

7

The whole of the UK is at risk from the Devon dirty water bug cryptosporidium, an expert has warnedCredit: Getty
South West Water have been handing out emergency rations of bottled water to anyone affected by the Cryptosporidium outbreak, like here in Broadsands Car Park, Brixham on Wednesday

7

South West Water have been handing out emergency rations of bottled water to anyone affected by the Cryptosporidium outbreak, like here in Broadsands Car Park, Brixham on WednesdayCredit: Alamy
The bug emerged in Brixham this week and saw a boil water order issued to residents

7

The bug emerged in Brixham this week and saw a boil water order issued to residentsCredit: Getty

Residents and visitors alike are experiencing grim symptoms including watery diarrhoea, “childbirth-like” cramps, nausea or vomiting, a mild fever, and loss of appetite.

Among those struck down by the bug was Brixham resident Lisa Horswill who told iNews: “It’s worst after you’ve just eaten.

“Then the diarrhoea just empties you out and the stomach cramps kick in, which are so painful, like childbirth.”

Those infected with the parasite – which causes cryptosporidiosis – could be ill for a up to a month, an expert previously warned.

Read More on cryptosporidium

On Wednesday, South West Water ordered locals across Brixham, Boohay, Kingswear, Roseland and North East Paignton to boil their tap water.

The water company have apologised for the outbreak as it is feared the dirty water fallout could see half-term ruined and trigger an exodus of tourists.

How to tell if you’ve picked up cryptosporidium – plus, steps to avoid it

HUNDREDS of people in Devon have been struck down by a parasite that infiltrated the water supply.

The bug, cryptosporidium, commonly known as ‘crypto,’ can infect the digestive systems of both animals and people.

Most people recover, but some can become seriously ill, such as very young children and those with particularly weak immune systems.

What are the symptoms?

  • Profuse watery diarrhoea
  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low-grade fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss

Symptoms usually last about two weeks but can be longer, especially in people with weak immune systems.

During the illness, you might think you are getting better and have shaken off the infection, but then it returns a couple of days later before you fully recover.

Take the following steps to protect yourself from the illness

The advice to people living in the affected area is to boil your drinking water and drink plenty to prevent becoming dehydrated – and stay away at home until it’s subsided.

Beyond the current outbreak, crypto can also be caught in lakes and swimming pools and contact with animal manure.

Therefore, you should always avoid swallowing water in lakes and swimming pools.

Catching it from animals is usually the most common way people become unwell, with a spike coming in spring when farms hold open days.

You should always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after working with, feeding, grooming or playing with pets and other animals.

How do I treat the illness?

There is no specific treatment for cryptosporidiosis.

Most people with a healthy immune system will recover within one month.

It’s important to drink plenty of fluids as diarrhoea or vomiting can lead to dehydration and you can lose important sugars and minerals from your body. 

Cryptosporidiosis is highly infectious, so you need to be very clean around your home for at least 48 hours after your symptoms stop, so don’t return to work or school until that time has passed, don’t share towels or bedding and don’t prepare food for others.

You are infectious to other people while you are ill and have symptom

But Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious diseases expert at the University of East Anglia, warned further outbreaks of Cryptosporidium could occur in other parts of the UK.

He told MailOnline this would not necessarily stem from drinking water supplies directly, but from people who may have become infected in Devon.

Cryptosporidium is a parasite that can live in the intestines and faeces of infected humans and animals.

It can spread directly from another person or animal by touching faeces.

Hundreds suddenly fall ill in town with ‘worst illness ever’ as whole families affected and urgent probe launched

The bug can also spread through swimming in or consuming contaminated water as well is in food.

Professor Hunter said Brits would not need to boil water like those in South Devon but could be at risk of coming into contact with someone who has carried the illness out of the region.

He also warned the country could see future outbreaks as the UK’s ageing water infrastructure breaks down.

Yesterday it was revealed the possible source of the bug was a “damaged air valve” in the Hilldean area of Brixham.

SOUTH WEST WATER ‘SORRY’

South West Water say they are ‘sorry’ for the cryptosporidium outbreak in South Devon

In a statement, Laura Flowerdew, the firm’s Chief Customer and Digital Officer, said: ‘We sincerely apologise for the impact this is having on our customers in the Brixham and Alston areas.

‘Protecting the health of our customers and providing them with a clean, fresh drinking water supply is our number one priority and we will continue to work around the clock to make sure that happens as soon as possible.’

If any customers are unsure whether they are in the affected areas, they can check on South West Water’s postcode tracker at https://www.southwestwater.co.uk/household/help-support/in-your-area/service-updates

Local MP Anthony Magnall said this “may have allowed animal waste or contaminated groundwater to enter the local supply”.

Among locals taken ill was gran Elaine Hollier, 80, hospitalised after suffering severe dehydration and vomiting for two weeks.

‘TUBES STICKING OUT HER ARMS’

Dennis, Elaine’s husband of 60 years, said: “She was absolutely diabolical.

“It has been so upsetting to see my wife in a hospital bed with tubes sticking out of her arms for antibiotics.

“She’s got no appetite and no energy. I was dead worried for myself too because they didn’t have a clue.”

Mr Hollier says he suffered symptoms but had a “lucky escape” as he drinks less water than his wife.

They both initially thought an under-cooked sausage had made them ill.

The cryptosporidium outbreak saw water bottle pick-up points set up in Brixham and Paignton for locals to get hold of clean drinking water.

In a statement, South West Water announced they would increase their compensation package to locals to £115 “to say sorry for the stress and worry the situation has caused”.

South West Water previously offered just £15 to customers whose water was infected with cryptospordium.

Laura Flowerdew, the firm’s chief customer and digital officer, said “we sincerely apologise for the impact this is having”.

Among locals taken ill was gran Elaine Hollier, 80, hospitalised after suffering severe dehydration and vomiting for two weeks, seen here with husband Dennis

7

Among locals taken ill was gran Elaine Hollier, 80, hospitalised after suffering severe dehydration and vomiting for two weeks, seen here with husband DennisCredit: Neil Hope
Yesterday it was revealed the possible source of the bug was a 'damaged air valve' in the Hilldean area of Brixham

7

Yesterday it was revealed the possible source of the bug was a ‘damaged air valve’ in the Hilldean area of BrixhamCredit: Neil Hope
The cryptosporidium outbreak saw water bottle pick-up points set up in Brixham and Paignton for locals to get hold of clean drinking water

7

The cryptosporidium outbreak saw water bottle pick-up points set up in Brixham and Paignton for locals to get hold of clean drinking waterCredit: Neil Hope
A notice warns locals not to drink from the taps fearing they could be infected with cryptosporidium

7

A notice warns locals not to drink from the taps fearing they could be infected with cryptosporidiumCredit: Neil Hope

Source link