August 3 update: Testing confirmed presence of cryptosporidium

Written by By Terri Harber August 03, 2013 06:29 pm

Residents urged to continue boiling tap water or using bottled water

Baker City Herald Staff Report

Initial testing has confirmed the presence of cryptosporidium on Baker City’s municipal water supply, according to a press release distributed today by the city’s public works department.

As was first reported Wednesday, people in the city should not drink the water without boiling it first. Tap water needed for drinking as well as making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation needs to boiled  for one minute. Let the water cool to desired temperature before using it. 

Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

Bottled water can be substituted for tap water.

There have been at least a dozen confirmed cases of cryptosporidiosis among residents, said City Manager Mike Kee.

The city learned of a waterborne disease outbreak from the Baker County Health Department on Wednesday, July 31, and these tests verified the presence of the parasite in the drinking water supply on Friday night. 

Officials first issued the water advisory on Wednesday as well. The samples taken that day were positive in both the watershed supply and the treated water, which is also referred to as the distribution system. Information about the cryptosporidium levels found in the water at these locations wasn't included in the latest release provided by city and county officials.

Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis. Symptoms range from none at all to flu-like symptoms, such as watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. 

These symptoms may pose a special health risk for people with severely compromised immune systems. People with severe symptoms or dehydration should seek advice from their doctor.

Proper and frequent handwashing also is important to keep the germs from spreading.

Don’t serve water straight out of the tap to pets, either, officials also advise.

Additional samples will be taken on Sunday, Aug. 4 “from source water sites as well as distribution system sampling sites,” the press release also stated.

• See Monday’s edition for continued and more in-depth coverage about this local health crisis. We’ll also update our website if the situation warrants..

Also see the city’s website for more information: www.bakercity.com