Mountain basin on Askøy not tested in ages

Mountain basin Miridalsvannet OsloMaridalsvannet is a drinking water source for Oslo. Photo: Oslo municipality.

Mountain basin on Askøy not tested in ages

Water samples have most likely not been taken from the mountain basin on Askøy Island for many years. This is the same pool where large quantities of e.coli have been found, according to NRK.

Deputy Mayor of Askøy, Bård Espelid, tells the Public Broadcaster.

A total of 47 inhabitants, 13 children and 34 adults, have been admitted to Haukeland University Hospital as a result of the epidemic, figures from Health Bergen shows.

14 patients were admitted to Haukeland during the last 24 hours only. None of the admitted patients is critically ill. There are currently no children admitted, 18 adults though.

62 patients have visited the Askøy Emergency Room from Saturday morning at 7 am until Sunday at 1 pm. 13 patients have been referred to the Hospital. A total of 140 patients were advised by a nurse over the phone.

Children sent home from a festival

The number of newly infected persons is still rising. Askøy municipality, with more than 27,000 inhabitants, currently has no control over the cause of the epidemic, according to its Deputy Mayor.

In excess of 50 children were sent home from the Handball Festival on Stord on Sunday, because they were affected by symptoms related to the epidemic, writes Bergensavisen.

“There is nothing to indicate that the intensity will decrease any time soon. We expect more people becoming ill in the coming week,” Deputy Mayor of Askøy, Bård Espelid, tells NTB.

The reason is that the bacterium Campylobacter, which has been detected in the patients from Askøy, can break out long after the bacterium has been ingested. The incubation period is up to 10 days.

“The probability that the drinking water is the source of infection is very high, but we still have to get it confirmed,” Espelid explains.

It will now be investigated whether those who are affected live near the municipal waterworks.

Increased manning

Representatives from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) are finally in place to assist the municipality.

“Three epidemiologists from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have come to help us map and systematise the situation. This work will take some time. Just how long, is uncertain. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has staff present as well,” Askøy municipality informs on their website

They also write that FHI will assist with professional advice regarding the work ahead.

The staffing at Haukeland has also increased on Sunday. This is to be absolutely sure that the hospital has enough capacity to accommodate more patients in the days to come.

Patient interviews

Furthermore, patients will be interviewed to determine the extent of the epidemic. The aim is to obtain a better picture of where the epidemic is developing.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health will hunt for where in the drinking water system the bacteria originate since a flora of intestinal bacteria has been found in it. Espelid hopes that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority will assist them in this work.

About 2,000 persons have probably taken ill by the drinking water on Askøy. The municipality has received reports that persons – who have visited the municipality – are affected in several places around Norway.

“I’ve even heard of a sick infant in Turkey,” Espelid informs Bergens Tidende.

Awaits autopsy result

A one-year-old boy died of an intestinal infection on Wednesday. It is still not confirmed whether this death can be linked to infection from the drinking water on Askøy.

“We are awaiting the autopsy report. We must relate to its findings,” Espelid concludes.

High concentrations of e.coli bacteria were detected in the mountain basin in Øvre Kleppe on Friday. Clostridium and intestinal enterococci have, likewise, been found.

The municipality has placed water wagons in several central locations. This, to make clean drinking water accessible to the island dwellers.

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