Cryptosporidium: Water outbreak cases in Devon rise to 77

Bottled water arrived in Brixham after a cryptosporidium outbreak in the town
-Credit: (Image: Chris Slack)

The current number of confirmed cases of cryptosporidium has risen to 77 following an outbreak in Brixham and surrounding areas. The last data provided by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) was given on Tuesday, May 21, when numbers had risen to 57.

The UKHSA has previously assured it is also monitoring for any person-to-person spread that may have occurred. On Wednesday, May 15, South West Water (SWW) confirmed it had detected 'small traces' of the parasite infection in Alston and the Hillhead area of the coastal town - less than 24 hours after stating it was safe to drink the water after all its water supply tests had come back clear.

The cause of the outbreak is believed to be a damaged air valve on private land. Work is ongoing to resolve the issue with some households and businesses still being advised not to drink their water until boiling it first.

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Earlier today, DevonLive reported SWW has announced a further increase in compensation for people affected by the outbreak. The payment for those still under the boil water notice is now £265 rather than the previously reported £115. In an update yesterday evening, May 24, SWW apologised for the impact the parasite infection is continuing to have in the Hillhead, upper parts of Brixham and Kingswear areas.

It added that compensation to victims will increase as "it's the right thing to do". SWW has been holding drop-in sessions for people in the area to attend if they are concerned by the situation.

The last update on SWW's website was posted on May 23. it stated: "We're working around the clock to resolve the situation for the 2,500 households impacted across the Hillhead supply area. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our customers. Yesterday (22 May) over 40 South West Water crews began delivering bottled water to properties across the boil water notice area.

"Bottled water stations in Broadsands, Freshwater Quarry and Churston remain open between 7am and 9pm every day. On Tuesday (21 May), a drop-in centre opened in Brixham, which is open to customers with questions regarding compensation and support available to affected households.

"Our community van is back in Kingswear today from 12 to 5.30pm, you can find us parked up on Brixham road off the B3205. The team will be able to help with any queries or concerns you have following the boil water notice.

"Our operations teams are working tirelessly to eliminate any traces of cryptosporidium, and we are continuing to flush and clean the system. We will not lift the boil water notice for those affected until we and our public health partners are absolutely satisfied it is safe to do so.

"Separately, investigations into the damaged air valve installation on private land, which we believe to be the cause, are ongoing.

"We are hugely grateful to our customers for their kind support to our teams that are out trying to fix the issue and support our customers in the local area as quickly as possible."