Stomach bug wreaks havoc on Swedish town
TT/The Local/dl · 29 Nov 2010, 14:39
Published: 29 Nov 2010 10:17 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Nov 2010 14:39 GMT+01:00
Officials from Österund municipality confirmed that the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium has been found in the city’s drinking water.
The parasite was found in water going into and out of the city’s water system, according to Östersund environmental affairs head Jari Hiltula.
However, the exact cause of the contamination remains unclear.
“We’ve found the haystack, now we’re working furiously to find the needle,” said Hiltula during a press conference, according to the TT news agency.
Health authorities fear that between 3,000 and 9,000 people may be infected by the parasite.
Warnings about a possible contamination were issued on Friday, with the city urging residents in several areas to boil tap water.
On Monday, the city continued to advise residents to boil water before use.
The municipality also put up a survey on its website in order to gather more information from the public in hopes of determining the cause of the outbreak.
The survey generated more than 1,000 responses within 24 hours, adding to suspicion that the city’s drinking water was to blame.
“The number corresponds with what we had guessed, that between 5 and 15 percent of the population has been infected,” infectious disease specialist Micael Widerström told the TT news agency.
Those infected with Cryptosporidium can suffer from diarrhea, upset stomach, mild fever, and vomiting. Symptoms can last for up to two weeks.
Several members of Sweden’s biathlon team, which is in Östersund training for an upcoming international competition there, have come down with symptoms.
“I was sick last weekend. I was fatigued, had a fever, diarrhea, and a stomach ache,” said Helena Ekholm (nee Jonsson) to TT.
All but two members of the women’s team are ill, with the two healthy team members having trained in another location.
According to Östersund municipality, water in the public pools at the Storsjöbadet may have been contaminated with the parasite.