By Chris Collins
The cryptosporidium contamination of Baker City's water supply was first identified by an alert emergency room doctor, according to Laura Huggins, a hospital spokeswoman.
The doctor ordered a fecal test, which confirmed the presence of cryptosporidium in the patient's stool sample.
That's a typical response from a doctor who is seeing a lot of people coming in to the emergency room with similar signs and symptoms, said Jennifer Krajnik, media relations specialist for St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise.
"They made the decision to test for cryptosporidium and that's what they found," Krajnik said.
Thirteen confirmed cases have been identified and testing has been discontinued at this point, Huggins said.
The city announced Saturday that testing of sample's taken from the city's water supply Wednesday confirmed that it contained cryptosporidium.
Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis.
People with suppressed immune systems are advised to seek medical attention if they show symptoms of the waterborne illness, which include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps and nausea.
Those symptoms can appear within two to 10 days after being infected with the parasite, Krajnik said.
Those with healthy immune symptoms should recover in one or two weeks, she said.
They are advised to drink plenty of liquids to avoid becoming dehydrated.