Giardia, Cryptosporidium and Other Water Diseases
Stomach ache. Bali Belly. Montezuma’s Revenge. Beaver Fever. Traveller’s diarrhoea. These are the common names for bacteria that have entered into your digestive system, primarily from sources of infection or ingestion or faecal contaminated food or water.
Here in Australia our main water supplies to the cities are filtered and protected against contamination. They are regularly checked by authorities, but that does not mean problems do not occur.
In 1998, a highly publicised Giardia and Cryptosporidium outbreak was reported in Sydney with a contamination of the mains water supply from Warragamba Dam. It was a widely publicised event with authorities issuing “boil water” alerts to the 4 million residents of the city. Widespread demand for bottled water caused havoc at shopping centres, with the effects causing a change in the habits of Sydneysiders who continued to heavily use bottled water in subsequent years. Whilst an inquiry into the event revealed that the publicity was an exaggeration of fact and the number of cases was minimized, it had brought to the publics’ attention how susceptible we all are to illness from drinking water. Sydney’s 1998 water crisis.
When travelling overseas to developing countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and South America, many Australians fall ill as they drink the local water which is not filtered and unprotected to the same levels here in Australia. Hence we have the common terminology of Bali Belly and Montezuma’s Revenge!
Giardiasis infection occurs through the ingestion of Giardia cysts. Giardia is an infective, resistant cyst, which colonise and reproduce in the small intestine. These cysts can survive for weeks or even months in cold water and therefore can be present in contaminated wells, water systems, rain water storage tanks and even mountain streams! There is the possibility that Giardia could be evident in city water treatments as Giardia is resistant to water treatment using chlorination and ozeonolysis. Giardia can also remain in the lower intestine for several weeks. It causes gastrointestinal illness presenting symptoms such as diarrhoea, stomach cramps and nausea. Water-borne transmission occurs for example; when drinking contaminated unfiltered tank water or even eating food that has been prepared & washed, but not cooked, with contaminated water.
Cryptosporidium also referred to as Crypto. It is also a cyst and infects through contaminated water or food that has been prepared and washed, but not cooked. Crypto is also highly resistance to disinfectants such as chlorine. It causes gastrointestinal illness with stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhoea and can remain in the lower intestine for several weeks.
E.Coli (Escherichia coli) is a germ or bacteria that lives in the digestive tracks of humans. There are many types of E.Coli and most of them are harmless. But some types can cause illness, symptoms which including, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting and in extreme cases bloody diarrhoea, severe anaemia or kidney failure, which can lead to death. Infection occurs from ingesting water or food that has been contaminated with faeces from human or animal sources.
How safe is your water?
Rural and acreage residents who rely solely on tank water are the most susceptible to Giardia and Cryptosporidium from their drinking water.
In these rural settings, wildlife such as possums, birds, and cats can contaminate catchment areas which provide water supply directly into the storage tanks for rain water. In most scenarios, rain water is collected from roof tops, along gutters and down pipe systems into the storage tank. A build-up of vegetation and constant traffic of wildlife can cause organic and faecal matter to find its way directly into the storage tank, contaminating the drinking water.
Even the most vigilant home owner cannot prevent contamination of their water supply. Regular cleaning of debris off roof tops and gutters will help prevent contamination, however, thorough cleaning of sludge from the bottom of the water tank, and subsequent sanitisation of the water and tank is also required.
For city dwellers that also use their rain water tanks for laundry washing and other ‘grey water’ tasks, it is still very easy for cross contamination to occur. For this reason, it is extremely important to ensure regular cleaning and sanitisation of your water tank is conducted.
Pristine Water Systems are specialists in water filtration and can easily purify any water source. We have a huge range of quality water filtration systems to protect you and your family from these sickening diseases.
Choosing the right water filtration system for your needs is as simple as contacting us.
Do you experience any of the following?
- Bad smelling water
- Bad tasting water
- Discoloured water.
Our solutions include…
- Water filtration
- Tank cleaning
- Iron removal
- Tannin removal
- Water softening
Contact us for more information!