June 13, 2011
E. coli Levels in the Finley River and the Possible
Effects on the Recreational Users.
E. coli , short for Escherichia coli, is a class of bacteria found naturally in the intestines of humans and other land dwelling animals (6). It is part of a group of bacteria known as coliform. There are hundreds of known strains of E. coli. Most are harmless. Some however, such as E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe infection which can often cause severe and bloody diarrhea, painful abdominal cramps, and possibly fever. Young children, the elderly, and those with chronic illness’ are at the greatest risk for these severe symptoms. In some cases, infection can even lead to kidney failure and possible death (6). More than twenty three hundred people became ill and seven deaths were reported in Walkerton, Ontereo, in May of 2000, in Canada's worst E. coli outbreak (1).The bacteria got into the town's water supply through manure spread on a farmer's field near one of the town's wells (1). In the summer of 2011, in northern Germany, a different and mysterious strain of E. coli led to the deaths of dozens of people and one in Sweden. It has infected more than four thousand people, mostly in Germany. This strand is know as E. coli O140 and is a shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC, that is especially dangerous because it doesn't take many bacteria to cause infection (1). Some major sources of E. coli are municipal sewage discharges or runoff from failing septic systems, animal feed operations and farms (4). E. coli from the excrement of warm blooded animals is often washed into lakes, rivers, creeks, streams, and groundwater during heavy rainfall. This can then lead to contamination for those using the rivers, creeks, and lakes recreationally, food that is irrigated from the contaminated water, as well as getting into the area drinking supply though wells or improperly treated water systems(4)....