Outbreak confirmed in English seaside town as people suffering with diarrhoea and vomiting

The outbreak was confirmed in Brixham
The outbreak was confirmed in Brixham -Credit:PA photo: Barry Batchelor

An outbreak of cryptosporidium has been confirmed in an English seaside town popular with West Midlanders - but the cause has not yet been identified. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which is leading the investigation, has confirmed the outbreak in Brixham amid 16 confirmed cases and more expected, with 70 reported cases too.

Residents of the seaside town have reported symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea. According to comments on social media, it was believed hundreds had fallen ill, reports DevonLive.

People spoke of how their lives have been impacted as they've been poorly for a number of days. Cryptosporidium is a tiny parasite that causes the disease cryptosporidiosis, which can result in a range of symptoms in affected people.

READ MORE: 'Hundreds' fall ill in popular English seaside town as authorities carry out tests

Get breaking news on BirminghamLive WhatsApp, click the link to join

The diarrheal disease is predominately waterborne and people can become infected through drinking contaminated water or swallow ing contaminated water in areas likes swimming pools or streams. Contact between humans and animals can also be a factor, too.

South West Water (SWW) assured earlier today that the tests it has carried out on the quality of drinking water in Brixham have currently all come back clear. It has since stated it is advising residents to continue to use their water as normal and that it is continuing to review water supplies.

UKHSA says its investigation into the source is ongoing and those who have reported symptoms are being contacted for further information as part of investigations into a source. It has issued advice to help halt the spread of the infection.

Sarah Bird, consultant in health protection at UKHSA South West said: "We would like to reassure the public that we are working closely with partners to investigate the possible source of infection and put control measures in place. Further possible cases are under investigation and more cases are anticipated.

"At this stage, a source has not been identified, and more information will be shared as soon as it is available. For most people, cryptosporidium symptoms can be managed at home without medical advice.

"Symptoms include watery diarrhoea, stomach pains, dehydration, weight loss and fever, which can last for two to three weeks. Anyone can get cryptosporidiosis, but it is most common in young children aged between one and five years and most healthy people will recover fully.

"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. Please stay off school and work for 48 hours since the last episode of illness and away from swimming pools for 14 days after the last episode of illness."

The UK Health Security Agency South West is working with Torbay Council, South West Water, NHS Devon and the Environment Agency to investigate the cause.