Map shows Cryptosporidium outbreak area in Torbay

A new South West Water map shows the area believed to be affected by an outbreak of Cryptosporidium
A new South West Water map shows the area believed to be affected by an outbreak of Cryptosporidium -Credit:South West Water

A map published online has revealed the extent of the cryptosporidium outbreak affecting a large patch of Brixham. At last count, 22 confirmed cases have been reported in the area and more reports of diarrhoea and vomiting among residents are being investigated as a new map from South West Water indicated a much larger area affected than initially thought.

Traces of the organism were found by the company in tests completed overnight and earlier today (Wednesday, May 15). The source of the parasite has not yet been identified local residents in the Alston and Hillhead areas of Brixham have been told to boil their water before consuming.

The according to the map, the area affected by the outbreak is bigger than initially thought and includes most of Brixham, Higher Brixham, Broadsands and stretched from Whiterock in the north to Kingswear in the south. To see if your residency or place of work is affected, you can check South West Water's website here.

Cryptosporidium is a parasite which causes sickness and diarrhoea. The water company is investigating the cause, which has not yet been identified, and locals and visitors alike in the affected areas should boil water before boiling it and allowing it to cool. This applies to water used for drinking, cooking and preparing food and even brushing teeth. Bottled water stations are in place in areas affected.

A South West Water spokesperson told DevonLive: “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.”

Symptoms of the illness can include diarrhoea, stomach cramping, dehydration, weight loss and fever. 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.”