E. coli Trouble Plagues Florida Town

Tavares, Florida was subjected to a boil water alert this weekend when officials there found <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/e_coli_O157_H7">E. coli contamination during routine testing, reported WESH.com. The city water department manager said that it is hoping to correct the problem early this week.

Tavares city sent a reverse 911 call to its residents and, now, all 13,600 residents must boil water prior to drinking, bathing, cooking, or cleaning with city water, said WESH.com. According to Water Department Manager Burney Vaughn, “We have actually stepped up our chlorine in our facility and instituted a more aggressive flushing in those areas to get the water to move around and get new chlorine in to help eliminate the problem,” quoted WESH.com.

According to WESH.com, restaurant owners in the city reported a 40 percent drop in business following the E. coli contamination alert.

We frequently report on E. coli and have discussed that this is a bacterium—a fecal coliform—found in the intestines of mammals: Warm-blooded animals, including humans. E. coli present in a water system can point to recent sewage or animal waste contamination.

E. coli are a group of bacteria found in animal intestines and feces. Some strains are necessary for digestion and harmless, while some are harmful, deadly, toxin producing, and part of a group of E. coli called Verocytotoxigenic E. coli, or VTECs. Of particular concern is the virulent, sometimes deadly E. coli O157:H7 strain that is part of this group and generally found to be the culprit in E. coli-related food- and water-borne illness outbreaks. E. coli may cause fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, deadly septicemia, and death.

We have also long been reporting on distressing emerging reports coming out of the scientific community about cases of drug resistant E. coli being recounted world-wide that are similar in path to a mutated staph called MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus that, when not treated early, is resistant to all but the one antibiotic of last resort

In the US, E. coli is the leading cause of food-borne illness, sickening about 73,000 and killing 61; last year, over 22 million pounds of beef and vegetables were recalled due to E. coli outbreaks.

Last year alone, E. coli was to blame for a number of water-borne E. coli outbreaks, including one on which we reported that affected Alamosa, Colorado, crippling that city’s water system for days and another that affected Fulton, New York. Also, 10 water systems in California faced fines for failing to monitor E. coli bacteria in their drinking water. In those cases, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could have potentially assessed tens of thousands of dollars in fines on a daily basis for every violation.

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