Water contamination warning for residents of southwest Finland town

Municipal officials issued Sunday’s warning after water samples tested on Saturday suggested a bacterial contamination.

The warning urged residents to boil water for drinking and for food preparation until further notice. The alert, which was issued shortly after noon on Sunday, also called on residents to monitor the situation via the municipality’s website- writes yle.fi.

Nousiainen resident Maritta Lehvonen said that many families including her own had been struck down by a stomach bug. Lehvonen said that she herself fell ill Thursday night and that the illness spread to most of the rest of the four-person family afterwards.

”Last week I noticed that the tap water was grey and cloudy like an alcopop drink, I had to really run the water out,” she told Finnish news agency STT.

More than three days after falling ill, Lehvonen said that she still felt weak, although she had taken to first boiling the tap water after Friday.

”In a local [Facebook] discussion group there are many families where healthy adults fell sick first. It raised suspicions that this might be more than a regular stomach bug outbreak,” she added.´

More than 100 fall sick

On Sunday, STT made enquiries of the local Facebook group and discovered that more than 130 people in Nousiainen and surrounding areas had suffered some kind of stomach infection. The agency’s survey asked respondents to tell the size of their families and how many family members had fallen ill.

However there are only a few cases of sickness recorded in official channels. Southwest Finland daily Turun Sanomat reported Saturday that the local health centre in Nousiainen had been visited by between three and five patients with stomach complaints daily.

Lehvonen said that health centre records do not reflect the true number of people who have been ill.

”The number of people who called the health centre to describe their symptoms doesn’t tell how many visited their occupational health services, treated themselves or sought care in the private sector,” she noted.

The symptoms described by locals who came down with the stomach bug include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.

River water contamination?

Nousiainen director of environmental health care Kaisa Nivola told STT that municipal officials suspect that a small amount of river water may have entered the distribution network during repair work conducted last week.

Municipal officials issued Sunday’s warning after water samples tested on Saturday suggested a bacterial contamination.

Lehvonen called for more specific information from local authorities about whether the stomach bug outbreak was caused entirely by contaminated water or if it was also caused by a virus.

”I’d also like information about whether the stomach illness caused by contaminated water can spread as by human contact and if water will be treated at schools and senior care facilities in the weeks ahead.”

Read more news of Helsinki on our site.

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