Cryptosporidium rampant in Ireland’s water

Whether it’s a swimming pool in Wales, a rec center in Kansas, or anywhere in Ireland, the advice seems to be the same: don’t swallow to avoid cryptosporidium.

The Irish Independent reports that Dr Frances Lucy, an ecologist and lecturer at the Department of Environmental Science at IT Sligo, has warned that anyone who feels ill following watersports on our lakes and rivers should contact a doctor.

Concerns were raised after tests were carried out at Lough Gill, Co Sligo, and from the River Liffey, Dublin, as part of a joint research project being undertaken by IT Sligo and UCD. Dr Lucy’s warning relates to the dangers for people who accidentally swallow water while swimming or taking part in watersports.

Cryptosporidium is especially dangerous for anyone whose immune system is suppressed — with AIDS patients, the elderly and babies regarded as particularly vulnerable.

The study, which is being funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, hopes to establish why there is a spring peak in the number of human cryptosporidiosis cases in Ireland.

With the final report due to be published in the middle of 2012, Dr Lucy revealed the preliminary findings suggest contamination in both locations is due to both animal and human waste.

Sloan slams lawyers again

Americans don’t get The Tragically Hip, but they seem to like the pop-oriented tunes of Nova Scotia’s Sloan when introduced – although no one down here has heard of them.

The 1996 Sloan song, Autobiography, often comes to mind when I read dribble from the blog, Defending Food Safety, written by some lawyers somewhere.

When you find you’re a conformer
Take pride and swallow whole
But if you’re trying to climb the ladder
Don’t let people walk over you
Because that’s just what they’ll do

The latest swallow had to do with an entry that begins,

“It’s no secret that virtually all foods are safe if handled properly. Indeed, according to FDA, most food-borne (sic) illnesses are avoidable if consumers follow proper food handling techniques. This is true whether consumers are shopping for products, transporting them home or preparing them in their kitchen."

I’m not sure what consumers have to do with contaminated peanut butter, pet food, pot pies, frozen pizzas, bagged spinach, carrot juice, lettuce, tomatoes, canned chili sauce, hot peppers and white pepper.

And I’m not sure where such lawyerly assertions about the source of foodborne illness come from – we’ve written a peer-reviewed article about where foodborne illness happens and argue it’s the wrong question.