Cryptosporidium cases in Brixham rise to 22 as bottled water is shipped in

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced the number of confirmed cases of cryptosporidium following an outbreak in Brixham has now risen by six to 22 cases. Other reported cases of diarrhoea and vomiting among residents and visitors to Brixham are also said to be under investigation and more cases are expected to be confirmed.

It follows the news earlier today, May 15, that South West Water (SWW) has detected 'small traces' of the organism in Alston and the Hillhead area of Brixham. Yesterday it stated that all its water supply tests had come back clear and that customers should continue to use their water as normal.

Cryptosporidium is a parasite which can cause sickness and diarrhoea. SWW says it is fully investigating the cause.

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In the meantime, residents in affected areas are being advised to not drink tap water without first boiling it and allowing it to cool. Bottled water stations are being set up for residents living in affected areas.

Bottled water being unloaded in Paignton -Credit:Submitted
Bottled water being unloaded in Paignton -Credit:Submitted

SWW has not confirmed where or when they will be available from. This morning, deliveries of bottled water have been seen arriving at Broadsands Car Park in Paignton. A lorry was spotted parked up with bottled water being loaded into waiting vans.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, SWW has confirmed that any customers issued with the Boil Water Notice will receive an automatic payment of £15 as part of its Customer Promise when services are interrupted. It added for those customers registered for 'Priority Services', it will be delivering bottled water to their address.

A South West Water spokesperson said: “Customers in Alston and the Hillhead area of Brixham are advised to boil their drinking water before consuming following new test results for cryptosporidium. We are issuing this notice following small traces of the organism identified overnight and this morning.

"We are working with the UK Health Security Agency and other public health partners to urgently investigate and eliminate the source. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and will continue to keep customers and businesses updated. Bottled water stations will be set up in the affected areas as soon as possible.”

The SWW warning notice -Credit:SWW
The SWW warning notice -Credit:SWW

The UKHAS confirmed yesterday that it is working with torbay-council>Torbay Council, South West Water, NHS Devon and the Environment Agency to investigate the cause.

Sarah Bird, consultant in Health Protection at UKHSA South West said in its latest statement issued today: “We advise people in the affected areas to follow the advice from South West Water and boil their drinking water and allow to cool before use. Anyone with a diarrhoeal illness should drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and if they have severe symptoms like bloody diarrhoea, they should contact NHS 111 or their GP surgery.

“Symptoms include: watery diarrhoea, stomach pains, dehydration, weight loss and fever, which can last for 2-3 weeks. Anyone can get cryptosporidiosis, but it is most common in young children aged between 1 and 5 years and most healthy people will recover fully.

“For most people, cryptosporidium symptoms can be managed at home without medical advice.“Those affected should stay off school and work for 48hrs since the last episode of illness and away from swimming pools for 14 days after the last episode of illness.”