The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will bring high-volume water testing equipment to Baker City to help officials try to pinpoint the source of a cryptospordium outbreak that apparently has sickened dozens of city residents.
The confirmed number of cases is eight, City Manager Mike Kee said Thursday afternoon.
But many of the people who have suffered from symptoms of crypto infection - persistent watery diarrhea and stomach cramps - have not been treated at the hospital and have not had stool samples tested for the parasitic protozoa.
The CDC equipment will allow the city to test large volumes of water, Kee said. That should make it easier to determine whether city water is in fact the source of the crypto contamination.
Kee said the first case of crypto apparently was confirmed after a doctor at St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City decided to have a stool sample from a patient tested.
It's not clear when that happened. Kee said he was called to the emergency room early Wednesday morning, after at least one more case of crypto infection had been confirmed.
Later Wednesday morning the city recommended residents boil tapwater for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth or washing dishes.
That boil recommendation remains in effect. Kee did not know when that recommendation will end.