Tarazona has Spain’s worst gastroenteritis outbreak of its kind

  • The culprit is a protozoan that lives in our intestinal system, Cryptosporidium

  • Infections are usually not severe except in immunosuppressed people.

A gastroenteritis epidemic is spreading in the city of Tarazona, located in the western province of Zaragoza. In and around the city, the number of cryptosporidiosis cases is now approaching half a thousand.

More than 450 cases. In recent weeks, gastroenteritis cases have surged in the Aragonese city of Tarazona and spread to the town of Novalas. According to the latest data, the number of people affected has exceeded 450. This was due to an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis found in local tap water.

For now, the outbreak does not appear to have spread to other cities that also draw water from taps in the Quailes River, and authorities are searching the riverbed for outbreaks.

We must also remain vigilant in border areas. When it was learned that the source of the outbreak was tap water, the municipal authorities asked humans to stop drinking tap water (neither for drinking, nor for cooking, nor for cleaning teeth), although they also explained that tap water has other uses such as Household cleaning does not pose a risk.

The restrictions have been extended to municipalities that also get water from Qualls, although no cases of unusual gastroenteritis have been found. The river originates in the province of Soria and flows into the Ebro River at its highest point in the municipality of Tudela Navarre.

Cryptosporidium. The culprit is neither a bacterium nor a virus, but a protozoa known as a “parasite.” Cryptosporidium. It is transmitted through the fecal-oral route, which means the parasite enters our body through the mouth and its spores are released through the feces.

spores Cryptosporidium They make the parasite difficult to eliminate through conventional methods such as chlorination. These spores are called oocysts (or oocysts) because they are the cells in which the parasite goes through the incubation stage and have a typical dura mater.

Once inside our bodies, these parasites go through their life cycle in the intestines, occasionally releasing new oocytes that end up in water or different types of food, from fruits and vegetables to raw Pasteurized milk.

Cryptosporidiosis. Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis are typical of gastroenteritis and manifest as severe, watery diarrhea. In addition to causing abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, symptoms of this infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as fever, fatigue, or pain in other parts of the body.

In healthy people, symptoms do not worsen and subside after a while (the timing may vary), but immunocompromised people may suffer serious consequences, such as severe diarrhea, gallbladder disease, or inflammation of the pancreas.

The largest known outbreak of this infection occurred in the early 1990s, affecting more than 400,000 people in Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and killing an estimated 50 people, the vast majority of whom had been previously infected with AIDS. One study found that deaths related to the syndrome increased by 19% in the months following the outbreak. Since 1993, tremendous progress has been made in the control of this infection.

Find the origin. Meanwhile, authorities continue to search for the source of the outbreak. It is unclear at what height of the river it occurred, nor can it be linked to any specific event. Authorities acknowledged that no leaks or illegal activity had been detected so far.

While no serious consequences of the outbreak have yet been detected, the parasite’s persistence means authorities will need to work on it. Over the past few hours, the number of people affected has been increasing, from 444 to 452.

The parasite’s incubation period is also variable and can last up to 12 days. Although precautionary measures were taken two weeks ago, it cannot be ruled out that the number of people will increase before the epidemic starts to subside.

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Pictures | Wiltron / Alaeddine Getty

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