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ÖSTERSUND WATER NIGHTMARE
Source found for stomach bug outbreak

Source found for stomach bug outbreak

Published: 09 Dec 2010 09:27 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Dec 2010 09:27 GMT+01:00

The source of the intestinal parasite that sickened thousands in the town of Östersund in northern Sweden has been identified, according to city officials.

Östersund municipality believe the Cryptosporidium parasite entered the municipal water system originated in a multi-family dwelling in the city’s Odensala neighbourhood.

“We’ve found high levels of the parasite in the connection to this source. I can’t say much more. We’ve handed over the information to the police who are responsible for the investigation. A property owner will also be contacted by (municipal water administrator) Vatten Östersund,” said Östersund environmental head Jari Hiltula to the TT news agency.

The flow from the contamination source has since been shut off.

Police in Jämtland county say they suspect the building in Odensala is the source of the contamination. City administrator Bengt Marsh confirmed that the municipality has given information to the police that the source of the parasite is a single building.

According to the local Östersunds Posten (OP) newspaper, police suspect that a sewage line leading away from the building was mistakenly connected to a rainwater drainage system.

“It looks like the sewage pipe wasn’t connected properly,” Andrew Sörensson, an environmental crimes investigator with the Östersund police, told the newspaper.

The worst of the wave of illnesses caused by the Cryptosporidium parasite appears to be over. Nevertheless, the municipality’s website has received an additional 500 reports of people suffering from stomach problems.

Altogether, 11,200 people have reported coming down with symptoms likely caused by the parasite.

On Wednesday afternoon, ultra-violet equipment arrived in Östersund which will be placed in the city’s water treatment plant to help kill off the parasite.

“We’re going to work with the supplier to get it up and running as fast as we can. I don’t want to speculate about how long it might take,” said Richard Jonsson, head of Vatten Östersund, to TT.

Both the police as well as city officials involved in the investigation say it remains unclear of the building in question is the contamination source, or if there may be other sources for the parasite.

Testing to gather more evidence is ongoing.

Tests taken by police have been sent to Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science (Statens kriminaltekniska laboratorium – SKL) for analysis and the police in Jämtland expect it to take a few weeks for the results are in.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:24 December 9, 2010 by boby
So basically the people have been drinking sh**t?!?!?!
13:13 December 9, 2010 by Hauhr
Environmental Crimes Investigator? LOL! I wonder if he and the rest of his team were air-lifted to the scene where they jumped out in standard tactical formation wearing black jackets with E C I in large yellow letters on the back...
14:21 December 9, 2010 by Frobobbles
So come on, they know the source, tell use the name of the guy then
15:18 December 9, 2010 by ISayWhatPeopleThink
OH PLEASE. The source of the crypto is always the same damn source, it comes from animal feces that gets into the water. Sometimes from livestock (pigs, sheep) sometimes from wild game. Normally this happens in spring when things melt and water runs downhill into the supply (rivers, lakes, streams) carrying with it the crypto from the feces, but can happen any time since freezing does not kill the oocytes that spread the parasite.

This "finding the source" thing is a joke. Crypto doesn't appear or "grow" from sewage being too stagnant. It is a PARASITE, not a BACTERIA. Do the Swedes really have to find a person to blame for this? It scares me how little the officials know about crypto. Just the other day Piteå Tidningen had an article reassuring the masses up here that the outbreak in Ö-sund couldn't happen here and their water is safe as officials had added more chemicals and chlorine to the water. How can these people not know that CHLORINE won't kill crypto oocytes? That's why you can catch it in swimming pools...duh!

Have none of these people who hold these jobs have taken a single science class? I'm just an average person (though immuno suppressed, so always on the look out for crypto) and I know more about the parasite than what is being reported, and that shouldn't be the case. Granted, I was in the DFW area when it broke out there in summer 2008, but still....

Next they'll claim this family to be immigrants or they'll try to prosecute them for "spreading" the parasite. What a FARCE. Do people really believe this tripe?

Seriously, this is the internet age. It doesn't take much to learn about crypto, just pull up a few websites and start reading. The only chance these people spread crypto is if they were infected elsewhere and used their toilets in Sweden, or if they were flushing animal feces in the home. And even then the chance that would cause an outbreak of this scale is very slim...and being able to scientifically prove and pinpoint that is even harder and next to impossible, and would take a lot longer than a few weeks.

The only way to rid of crypto oocytes and stop the spread is to boil or ozonate the water, or wait it out. And again, it doesn't "grow" from bad plumbing or stagnated water...it is a PARASITE and not a BACTERIA! End of story.

Swedes need more science in the classrooms, and better educated officials!
15:29 December 9, 2010 by millionmileman
We had a Cryptosporidium outbreak here in Milwaukee, USA, in 1993. Over 400,000 people were sick and like Östersund we are also on a large lake which became infected, by agricultural rain-run-off, flowing down into the water.

As a consequence Milwaukee switched to ozone purification instead of chlorine, and is now one of the World's leading centers for water technology..

http://www.mkelgbthist.org/events/health/crypto.htm
16:26 December 9, 2010 by ISayWhatPeopleThink
millionmileman: THANK YOU!

Yes, ozonating the water is the best way on a large scale. Other than that you have to boil all water for consumption (even ice cubes) or in an outbreak, wait the cycle out.

You posted a great example. Milwaukee's outbreak was horrible, but many lessons were learned. That's why I scoffed at Piteå claiming they had safe water, the only way the plant can have safe water is if they boiled it or ozonated it. Boiling is impossible on such a large scale and getting a plant set up for ozonation is costly and takes a long time - definitely not in just a few weeks! If I remember right, Milwaukee got theirs set up after the outbreak had passed to make sure it didn't happen there again, and it still took a while - and that was sans fika breaks. :P

I will say this, Milwaukee's water after the ozonation process is top-notch for a major city. I last visited there with my father (he had a college reunion, he's an old Marquette Dental alum) and we arrived just shortly after the well-publicized plant upgrade. The drinking water was much better quality than ours in Texas! :) I wish our tap water was as good!
17:45 December 9, 2010 by Wireless.Phil
Please read the article.

""According to the local Östersunds Posten (OP) newspaper, police suspect that a sewage line leading away from the building was mistakenly connected to a rainwater drainage system.""
20:22 December 9, 2010 by lacey
"On Wednesday afternoon, ultra-violet equipment arrived in Östersund which will be placed in the city's water treatment plant to help kill off the parasite."

There are 3 common methods of producing ozone.

1. Hot Spark

2. Ultraviolet light

3. Cold Plasma

source: http://www.educate-yourself.org/ozone/
21:27 December 9, 2010 by ISayWhatPeopleThink
Phil: Yes, but again, even raw sewage entering the system will not infect the water with crypto provided people are not flushing animal feces in the water, or were infected elsewhere and then using the toilets at home allowing the oocytes into the water supply. Proving it would be even more difficult. The most likely culprit to create an outbreak of this size is animal feces drainoff (from game or livestock).

Blaming a single family for this whole outbreak is ludicrous. I'd love to know what "proof" they have. Why the need for a scapegoat?
21:28 December 9, 2010 by David S
Glad I have my own UV water filter at home :)
02:30 December 10, 2010 by OnessOfMankind
disgusting crap....sewage to drinking water..What a dumb idiot who did it, I'm sure he is certified but stupid CS!!! youd better be a CS to work in sweden.
08:23 December 10, 2010 by HowSwedeitis
It was a mistake. Mistakes happen. They are working to fix the problem. Also, there is no "scapegoat" here; just an investigation. Also, human sewage can cause this. (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/Cryptosporidiosis_01.png)

-HSII
20:14 December 11, 2010 by Recher
There was no mistake.

It is unbelievable Östersund municipality did not have in place water purification methodology for giardia and crypto both of which survive conventional chlorine treatment.

In Australia all systems are designed to kill off these two tenacious parasites.
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