Published Date: 2012-06-02 19:58:48
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Cryptosporidiosis - UK (02): multiple areas
Archive Number: 20120602.1154339
CRYPTOSPORIDIOSIS - UK (02): MULTIPLE AREAS
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2012
Source: The Telegraph [edited]
Large outbreak of a Cryptosporidia linked to contaminated water and food
Scientists are investigating a large outbreak of a virulent stomach bug [cryptosporidia] linked to contaminated water and food, it has emerged.
There have been 267 cases of the bug since May 11 across four areas of
England, more than double the normal rate. The parasite Cryptosporidium is normally associated with contained swimming pools, lakes and salad foods but no source has yet been identified in this outbreak.
People in the North East, Yorkshire, West and East Midlands have been
infected. Usually outbreaks remain isolated and the source of the infection is quickly identified.
The Health Protection Agency has investigated the drinking water supply and
it is thought this is an unlikely cause of the outbreak. The organism can live in soil, food, water and on surfaces contaminated by human or animal faeces.
The infection known as cryptosporidiosis causes diarrhoea, stomach pains,
dehydration, weight loss and fever which can least a month or more. Symptoms
can be severe in the very young and the elderly, however most people
affected in the outbreak so far are adults aged between 15 and 45.
A 'handful' of people have been admitted to hospital and have now recovered,
a spokesman for the HPA said. Dr Stephen Morton, who is leading the investigation for the HPA, said: "It is usual to see an increase in cryptosporidiosis cases in the early summer, but, the increase is higher than we might expect so we are working with NHS partners, local Environmental Health Officers the Drinking Water Inspectorate and the Food Standards Agency to see if there is a common source of infection.
"GPs in affected areas have been informed about the recent rise in cases and
asked to be vigilant to further possible cases. This is to ensure any
further possible cases can be followed up as part of our investigations.
"If our investigations identify a common source, we will issue further
health advice to the public as necessary."
The dry spell followed by heavy rain could have caused irrigation systems to
become contaminated but there is no evidence of that yet in this outbreak, a
Tap water was infected with cryptosporidium in 2008 in Northamptonshire when
residents were told to boil their water.
By Rebecca Smith]
Promed Mail from
Health map alerts
[A widespread outbreak as the one descripbed is difficult to explain from contaminated drinking water as the different areas do not share water supply. Thus a food borne outbreak by a food item which is not usually cooked before consumption is likely. The previous report from the 12th of May (see below) could very well be part of the larger outbreak. – Mod. EP
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/1lNY.]