BAKER CITY, Ore. -- Tests confirmed the presence of cryptosporidium in the Baker City water supply, city officials said this weekend.
A warning to boil water went out Wednesday evening after the health department reported an outbreak of waterborne disease.
The Public Works Department said Sunday that water samples taken Friday night tested positive for cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrhea disease cryptosporidiosis.
KTVB dialed a contact number for the Baker City Public Works Department and was greeted with a recorded message to residents, which said:
“The city of Baker City Public Works Department has received test results confirming the presence of cryptosporidium in the municipal drinking water system. The city is currently operating under a drinking water warning; residents should use bottled water or water that has been boiled for one minute.”
Residents are being advised to follow those instructions, until further notice.
Last Thursday, KTVB spoke with Fred Warner, the Baker County Health Department administrator, about the issue, and at that point he had said they were awaiting test results.
“We have had nine confirmed cases but we have had anecdotally a lot of people in Baker City sick over the last two weeks,” Warner said.
Last week, businesses were also impacted; some even shut their doors temporarily while others handed out bottled water to customers.
While no one was hospitalized from the presence of the microscopic parasite Warner said Thursday -- before the test results were found to be positive -- that his agency would work to get any water issues solved in a timely manner.
“It will be up to the state and some of my people to try and isolate why this happened and to make sure it that it never happens again,” he said.
The symptoms of cryptosporidium infection range from no symptoms to flu-like symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. It can be especially harmful to those with weakened immune systems.
Public works officials took more samples Sunday from source water sites and distribution system sampling sites.