Efforts continue to find source of E. coli pollution

THE source of an E. coli outbreak in the seawater at Cobo remains a mystery, despite a week of investigation.

The issue was flagged up to the public last Wednesday, after a series of poor water quality tests over the last few weeks.

Checks found the source of the bacteria was the outfall between Route de Cobo and the slipway by the kiosk, where children are often seen playing in the water.

Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation director Tobin Cook said they were still looking into the matter.

‘A number of water samples have been taken and the results are pending,’ he said.

‘We are continuing to investigate a number of potential sources, including following suggestions made by the public. The advice remains unchanged until we have been able to establish a source or the results become consistently compliant.’

Cobo outfall pipe. (28686290)

Despite being queried, the States has not said how high the levels of E. coli have been in the erratic measurements.

Escherichia coli is a type of bacteria common in human and animal intestines and is part of the normal gut flora. While most types are harmless, some can cause food poisoning or infections, such as cystitis.

Some strains produce toxins that can cause severe illness. The bacteria is well-known for causing stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea, but some infections can be severe and may be life-threatening.

Children may be more vulnerable to severe infections and complications, because they cannot tolerate much fluid and blood loss through vomiting and diarrhoea.

The bacteria are usually spread through faecal matter reaching the mouth, which is why hand washing after coming into contact with it is so important. But it has also be spread through swallowing water while swimming.

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