July 24, 2024

E. coli Outbreak at Lake Anna in Virginia on Memorial Weekend

An E. coli outbreak at Lake Anna in Richmond, Virginia over the Memorial Day weekend has sickened people, according to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). The number of patients has not been released, only that VDH has received "numerous reports of GI illnesses, mainly in children." Some of the patients have been hospitalized and diagnosed with E. coli infections. All potential causes of these illnesses, including food and lake water, are being investigated. The symptoms that patients are experiencing include vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody or watery, fever, and chills. In severe cases, the infection can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. The notice did not confirm that anyone is suffering from … [Read more...]

First Ever National Drinking Water Standard Targets PFAS

A first ever national drinking water standard targets PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances), known as forever chemicals, according to the EPA. The Biden Administration issued the new standard on April 10, 2024. Exposure to PFAS has been linked to cancer, liver and heart effects, and immune health. This rule will refuse PFAS exposure for about 100 million Americans, prevent thousands of deaths and reduce serious illnesses. The EPA is making funding available to help ensure that communities can make improvements to infrastructure. This investment is through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement, "Drinking water contaminated with PFAS has plagued communities across this country for too long. That is why President Biden has … [Read more...]

Fast Food Soda Fountains Can Be Contaminated with Coliform

Fast food soda fountains can be contaminated with coliform bacteria, which are found in feces and can be an indication of water contamination, according to a new study. The study was conducted at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California and was published in Water Supply, the International Water Association's peer-reviewed journal. Researchers found the microbial contamination in common sources of drinking water in the Eastern Coachella Valley, including the soda fountains. The findings showed that 41% of the water samples from those fountains contained coliform bacteria. In addition, molecular analysis of the samples found traces of genetic material from bacteria, including Salmonella, E. coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The study's authors are advising soda fountain … [Read more...]

Montana Raw Water Campylobacter Outbreak Linked to Bird’s Nest

A Montana raw water Campylobacter outbreak in 2022 has been linked to a bird's nest in a concrete cache from Kennedy Creek, according to ARS Technica. Nineteen people were sickened in that outbreak, and one person was hospitalized. The water was untreated, taken from a concrete box that siphoned off water from the creek located near Paradise, Montana. Officials believe that the box was build in the early 1900s to stop erosion from a railroad track bed. Officials found an empty bird's nest inside the box, which was the likely source of the pathogen. Campylobacter was found in the water. Whole genome sequencing showed that the bacteria in the water was a match to isolates from patients sickened in this outbreak. The box was posted saying that the water was not safe to drink. The … [Read more...]

Flow Alkaline Spring Water Recalled For Adverse Reactions

Flow Alkaline Spring Water is being recalled because of four complaints of alleged adverse reactions, according to the FDA. The recall notice did not state what the adverse reactions were. The recalling firm is Flow Beverages Inc. that is located at 33 Lakeview Court in Verona, Virginia. The recalled product is Flow Alkaline Spring Water in Organic lemon + ginger flavor. The bottles are 500 ml, with 12 units per case packed in a Tetra Pak paper carton. The lot numbers that are stamped on the product are 2023AUG29 V5 (August 29, 2023), and 2023AUG29 V5 (August 29, 2023), and the UPC numbers that are printed on the product labels are 628055429449 and 628055429425. The consumer complaints were registered after people ingested the Flow organic lemon + ginger flavored water. The water … [Read more...]

Possible 12/21 Campylobacter Outbreak in Petersburg, Nebraska

A possible Campylobacter outbreak in December 2021 in the town of Petersburg, Nebraska is associated with the municipal water supply, according to news reports. Problems with the water tower may be the cause of these illnesses. More than 40 people in the city started showing symptoms of Campylobacter poisoning. The East Central District Health Department reportedly first thought that the illnesses were linked to food. But water tower experts said that gaps in the town's water tower let birds get in. Wild birds can spread Campylobacter, according to experts. Crop contamination is the most common way this pathogen is spread from birds to humans. The town started chlorinating the water supply in December 2021. That means the water is safe to drink. The CDC's Division of … [Read more...]

FDA Proposes Agricultural Water Safety Rule For Use on Produce

There have been multiple E. coli outbreaks linked to fresh produce, especially leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, in the past few years. In several of those outbreaks, agricultural water has been implicated as the source of that pathogen. So the FDA has proposed a new agricultural water safety rule for use on produce. The rule would require farms to conduct comprehensive assessments that will help them identify and mitigate hazards in water that is used to grow produce. This is the latest step in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011. This proposed rule will replace some of the existing requirements for agricultural water in the Produce Safety Rule. Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response said in a statement, "There … [Read more...]

Study Finds Cow Manure Contaminates WI Wells and Causes Cryptosporidium

A new federal study released today has found that it's possible that cow manure contaminates wells in a county in Wisconsin and causes Cryptosporidium illnesses. The researchers looked at private wells in Kewaunee County, which is in northeastern Wisconsin on Lake Michigan. The county has a population of about 20,000 people, but there are 100,000 head of cattle in the area. About 12,000 residents get their water from private wells. The study used data from a countrywide pathogen occurrence study that lasted for a year. The scientist put the numbers into a quantitative microbial risk assessment to predict the cases of acute gastrointestinal illness linked to those wells. The results found that private well contamination could cause more than 300 acute gastrointestinal illnesses per … [Read more...]

After Severe Weather, What Does a Boil Water Notice Mean?

Many people in different parts of the country have been, and will be, under a "boil water" notice after severe weather strikes. So what does a boil water notice mean? These advisories are often issued after a flood or when there is an issue with local water services, such as broken water mains or a sewage spill. Everyone should pay attention to these advisories and notices and follow them rigorously to protect health. Boil water notices are issued to protect the public from waterborne infectious agents that can range from parasites to E. coli and other pathogens to viruses. When a notice is issued, everyone should stop using water from the tap until a government agency says that the water is again safe to drink and use in cooking and cleaning. Heat treatments and filtration can … [Read more...]

Lead in Water Threatens Infant Health and Development

Lead in water threatens infant health and development. This fact has been an issue in the United States for many decades. No amount of lead intake is safe. And children are especially susceptible to damage from this heavy metal, which can reduce IQ, damage the brain and nervous system, slow growth and development, and cause learning, behavioral, hearing, and speech problems. A new report from Healthy Babies Bright Future, detailed in Consumer Reports, shows that risks of lead in tap water is especially dangerous to bottle fed babies. Eight hundred families had their water tested for lead for the study. Ninety-seven of those households were located in New Orleans. Because the results for New Orleans were worse than the national tests, they were analyzed separately so as to not … [Read more...]

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