Boise County Advises Testing For Waterborne Illness

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

United Water has advised two Eagle subdivisions of contamination of water systems with untreated irrigation water due to faulty backflow devices.

The untreated irrigation water may have exposed residents of the homes in the Island Woods and Henry’s North 40 subdivisions to multiple contaminants beyond the E. coli detected by United Water. Therefore the Central District Health Department (CDHD) is advising physicians to test ill residents of the subdivisions for Campylobacter, Giardia and Cryptosporidium in addition to E. coli.


So far CDHD has linked the reports of 4 campylobacter infections and one Giardia infection to the water problems in the Eagle subdivisions.

“Our concern is that physicians may only be looking for E. coli in patients complaining of diarrheal illness potentially linked to drinking water,” said Nikki Sakata, Program Manager of the Communicable Disease Control program at CDHD. “We recommend that physicians also test for other bacteria, ova and parasites, including cryptosporidium.”

Physicians should report suspect cases to the Office of Communicable Disease Control at CDHD at 327-8625 for further investigation.

Campylobacter is a bacteria which can cause intestinal infections, leading to abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. Giardia is a parasite causing intestinal infections that can lead to abdominal cramps, diarrhea, gas, bloating, loss of appetite and fatigue. Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that lives in the intestines of infected humans and animals. Symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and sometimes fever. Symptoms can last up to two weeks.