(RepublicanJournal.org) – Numerous, seemingly unrelated outbreaks of infections caused by E. coli bacteria have left multiple communities struggling to find a source. Recent reports of illnesses in San Diego, California; the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona; and the University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville, are just a few among the numerous events plaguing residents across the country.
Parts of San Diego and Chula Vista, as well as all areas in Imperial Beach and Coronado, received boil advisories after a drinking water test came back positive for E. coli. Residents have been asked to cut all unnecessary water use, including outdoor irrigation, until the advisory lifts.
They’ve also received instructions to rigorously boil all water they intend to drink, cook with, or use for washing food or brushing their teeth. Alternatively, they can mix bleach into their water — an eighth of a teaspoon if it’s clear, a quarter teaspoon if it’s cloudy (after running through a filter) per gallon — then wait 30 minutes before consuming. Commercially bottled water is also safe.
The National Park Service issued a similar warning for people in the area of Phantom Ranch, located in the southern part of the Grand Canyon. Officials are still working on finding the root of the problem, increasing their water sample sources, and they’re adjusting chlorine levels in the meantime. No illnesses have been reported so far.
Students and faculty members gearing up for the new semester at the University of Arkansas haven’t been so lucky. PR Newswire reports that almost 100 people have become ill after visiting the campus, with four people requiring hospitalization. One victim developed acute kidney failure, which strikes about 10% of people infected with the more dangerous E. coli strains. The cause there is also still under investigation.
The CDC states that E. coli infections, which come from contaminated food and water supplies, can range from anywhere from mild to deadly. The most common symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Fevers, if they occur at all, are usually mild and remain under 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people recover in 5 to 7 days. People who are extremely young or old are more likely to develop severe or life-threatening symptoms.
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