Tarazona: An outbreak of gastroenteritis caused by tap water in a town in Zaragoza has affected more than 400 people | Social

Protozoa, single-celled organisms that live in moist places or aquatic environments, are responsible for one of the largest gastroenteritis outbreaks recorded in Spain in recent years. A total of 444 residents of Tarazona (Zaragoza) have suffered from severe diarrhea and intestinal pain in the past two weeks. cryptosporidium, It pollutes the waters of the Queles River, a tributary on the right bank of the Ebro, and, thanks to its ability to encapsulate and survive the usual purification procedures, has spread throughout the tap water network. More than 13,000 people in the town and three neighboring towns lack drinking water at home. The number of affected people continues to increase, with an increase of 36 people from Friday to Saturday alone.

Tono Jaray, mayor of Tarazona, explained that the almost explosive speed of the epidemic “immediately led to the suspicion that the medium of transmission was water, since this was the only thing that all those affected had in common”. José Luis Bancalero, Minister of Health of the Aragonese government, explained on Thursday in the District Court that the analysis carried out in the waters of the Queles River “results positive for this protozoa, which is why the alarm has been activated” for three more Two towns (Novaras, Torreras and Los Fayos) share the same water source. “

The Aragonese government has reminded people in Navarra and Castilla y León to analyze the waters of the river and some of its upper tributaries to try to determine the source of the parasite. The National Guard and public health officials suspect the contamination could be caused by emissions from farms, dead animals in the river or earthworks in Tarazona’s higher elevations.

According to the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC), cryptosporidiosis is a disease that causes Cryptosporidium— It is characterized by “profuse watery diarrhea” that can last from two days to three weeks. In healthy individuals, clinical symptoms resolve spontaneously, although good hydration and soft food are required. Immunosuppressed patients may develop complications that may be fatal. The incubation period is 1 to 12 days.

The world’s largest cryptosporidiosis outbreak occurred in the Milwaukee metropolitan area (USA) in 1993, affecting more than 400,000 people (25% of the population) and killing 58 people, almost all of whom were HIV-infected. The focus of the outbreak is a water purification facility capturing water from Lake Michigan.

In Tarazona, the public health crisis began 12 days ago when it was first suspected that some “bacteria” might have infected the oral water, necessitating a ban on drinking the oral water. Since then, residents have been unable to drink it or use it to brush their teeth or cook. The Tarazona City Council this week distributed jugs of water, which comes from the town’s fairs and neighborhood associations, such as the one in the Cinto neighborhood chaired by Pilar Calavia, which The neighborhood is one of the oldest in the city. “What they give us (one bottle per household) cannot reach us and we don’t know if it will last,” he complained.

Olga, a shop owner in this neighborhood, has been responsible for delivering free water to homes because “almost all the people here are old, in need of help, poor, not to mention that almost all the houses are very difficult.” poverty”.

Restrictions will continue as the pandemic continues. Of the three towns of Novaras, Los Fayos and Torreras that have also been affected since Friday, the first has so far seen only two cases of gastroenteritis, but there are symptom. “This measure comes too late,” said Torreras Mayor Pilar Pérez. “Almost 15 days after the outbreak in Tarazona, no one informed us to prevent the epidemic, despite requests. I just tell my neighbors to drink calmly,” he complained. Novalas Mayor Pedro Lapuente said the city’s residents did not do so because “most people took action after hearing the siren in Tarazona.”

The problem now is fighting protozoa. Tanks are being cleaned and treatment within the network has been stepped up, but it’s important to know the source. Los Fayos Mayor José Ángel Alonso stressed that there are several facilities upstream, such as fish farms or farms that produce slurry, that now need to be reviewed.

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