An outbreak of at least 12 campylobacter illnesses in Saratoga Springs, Utah has prompted city officials to issue a boil water order. The Deseret News reports as follows:
Officials say boiling the drinking water of all users of the culinary water system located north of 400 South in Saratoga Springs for at least one minute could help reduce the risk of picking up the contaminant believed to cause the stomach or intestinal illness. An alternative is to buy bottled water or use liquid household bleach that is free of additives and scents to disinfect water.
Officials are hopeful the order will be in effect for just 24 hours, but they warned residents Thursday that it could last up to 72 hours.
City Manager Ken Leetham said the bacteria causing the illness is campylobacter, which, if left untreated, can cause intestinal problems. It can be treated with antibiotics.
Campylobacteriosis, the illness caused by Campylobacter, is a zoonotic emerging infectious disease characterized by diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal pain, malaise, fever, nausea, and vomiting (Chin, 2000). The severity of the disease is variable, but usually people who get campylobacteriosis recover completely within 10 days. For a small number of people, Campylobacter infection may result in long-term health problems. For example, Campylobacter infection is the most common cause of a rare disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome that occurs several weeks after the acute diarrheal illness, and may result in permanent paralysis (Ang et al, 2001; van Doorn et al, 2008).