Askøy hunts the source of «runny tummy»

Toilet paper runny tummyToilet paper is a much used commodity on the Askøy Island, after a massive outbreak of runny tummies. Photo: NTM

Askøy hunts the source of «runny tummy» epidemic

A mountain pool is closed after the onset of «runny tummy» in Askøy. The municipality hopes that they have located the source of infection after findings of e.coli.

Whether the water from the pool in Øvre Kleppe in Askøy is the reason for several hundred inhabitants being ill the last few days, will not be clear before Tuesday.

The water is now tested for the bacterium Campylobacter, which can cause gastric and intestinal infection. This after Haukeland Hospital confirm that the bacterium is detected in the faeces of the vast majority of those admitted.

“We hope that we have hit the target with the pool. It, however, takes four days to analyse the samples,” Manager of Water and Sewage in Askøy, Anton Bøe, tells NTB.

Leaking in

He points out that high concentrations of e.coli have been found in the pool. e.coli is not often dangerous by itself – but is a symptom – indicating that the water is polluted by something else.

“The theory is that pollution has occurred through water leaking into the pool from above. This water may have been contaminated by intestinal bacteria from birds or mammals,” Bøe explains.

Campylobacter is the bacterium that most often leads to a runny tummy for both adults and children.

“The pool is now closed off, while the rest of the water supply in the municipality is supplemented with extra chlorine. Inhabitants still need to boil the water, though,” Bøe emphasises.

Hundreds are taken ill with a runny tummy

Residents have been bedded with high fever, vomiting and diarrhoea all over Askøy Island in recent days. A primary school in the municipality, as an example, reports of 70 sick pupils today.

Nearly 50 persons have been examined at the Askøy Emergency Room since yesterday, while a total of 26 have been sent on Haukeland University Hospital in the last 24 hours. 10 of those are children aged 3 months to 10 years old.

“The disease is, however, not dangerous for most,” Chief Physician of the Infectious Disease Department of Haukeland University Hospital, Trond Bruun, informs.



Low threshold

“The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. In most cases, this is not dangerous, and treatment is usually not required. The most important measure is to drink enough liquid,” Bruun explains.

Most patients are discharged already. Bruun emphasises, however, that vulnerable groups such as young children, the elderly, chronically ill and pregnant women should have a low threshold before contacting a doctor.

“Not least, patients with a poor general condition must do this,” he stresses.

A one-year-old boy died on Wednesday. It is unknown whether it happened because of the Campylobacter outbreak. The one-year-old will be autopsied in the afternoon or evening,” Police Attorney of West Police District, Cathrine Krohn, tells Bergens Tidende.

The police investigate

West Police District is now investigating whether Askøy municipality may have committed offences in connection with the possible pollution of the drinking water. They investigate, among other things, whether routines have been followed as they should.

It is perfectly okay that the municipality is scrutinised, Bøe believes.

“The police are following their routines and that is how it should be. We have never had such a case before,” the Water and Sewage Manager concludes.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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