Giardia cause uncertain

Keely
Keely Dakin
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 Since it was recognized that a young toddler in Prince Albert tested positive for giardia, the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region’s unit for public health inspection has been working to discover if the child contracted the parasite via the city’s water.

City Manager Robert Cotterill, says the case of giardia will not change what the city needs to do to repair the situation.

Dr. James Irvine, medical health officer, says that there are a number of ways in which a person can contract the parasite, including but not only water. "It will be impossible to know for sure, if it was the water," said Irvine.

As the parasite common, there are several other possible causes of infection, such as lake water, or unwashed produce, or close proximity to others that have come in contact with it. For that reason the Health Region is following up with the childcare centre, which the child attended, as well as contacting other childcare centres to discuss the situation. He also suggests that if you do have symptoms, to stay at home until they go away, or for at least 48 hours.

Since Feb. 23rd there have been 141 patient samples tested for parasites. Irvine cautions "It is not unexpected that with this number of tests done, that there would be some positive results," as around one per cent of the population may have the parasite at any given time and that number is even larger in young children. He says, "In Saskatchewan last year, there were 120 positive test results for giardia."

While the average time period for giardia to begin to show symptoms is 7 to 10 days, it can take as few as three or as long as several weeks. It has now been about 21 days since Feb. 3rd, when to original contamination of the city's water occurred.

Irvine says that some people can have giardia and yet not have any symptoms. If you do experience extreme gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea and are concerned, then contact a health professional.

“In Saskatchewan last year, there were 120 positive test results for giardia.” Dr. James Irvine, medical health officer

City Manager Robert Cotterill, says the case of giardia will not change what the city needs to do to repair the situation.

He also says that the progress on the water treatment plants repairs and upgrades are continuing and the 12-hour shut down of the city's water on Thursday was effective and productive.

Residents continue to be urged to take precautions and follow the Boil Water Order. For up to date and detailed information regarding the city's tests and progress, check their website at www.citypa.ca

 

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  • craig
    February 27, 2012 - 11:56

    It is more likley than not that the child was infected by our drinking water. Why is it that the city is not doing something for the residents like providing fresh water through out the city. Instead people have to pay inflated prices from businesses.