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E-coli Outbreak and The Significance of Drinking Water Safety Management

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Escherichia coli (E-coli) are the bacteria usually found in food , environment , human and animal intestines. There are so many harmless strained E-coli, and few other sorts are infectious. The harmful E-coli can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infection (UTI), respiratory diseases, pneumonia etc.

In a brief period, waterborne diseases due to polluted water intake may affect a significant number of people. Human sanitation systems are important sources of water waste. Animal waste deposition to surface water is also a reason of contaminating water. There is an article which talks about the outbreak of diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli at a school camp located in Jeollabuk-do, Korea associated with contaminated drinking water. In June 2015, some students from three different schools had evolved all the signs of gastroenteritis after visiting a camp. So, the public health laboratory of Jeollabuk-do conduct a retrospective cohort analysis at the school camping area to identify the associations between the disease and particular exposures. 188 students have exposure to disease outbreak and the victim students have experienced more than one symptom like diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting , chill etc. The Jeollabuk-do public health laboratory (JPHL) verified and confirmed that it was E.coli infection. In the camp, the water supply for cooking and drinking is by a private underground water tank. Some issues with water delivery system was discovered by the laboratory authorities, such as inadequate water purifier filter at the cafeteria and an error between the connection of water tank and chlorination system. The public health laboratory authorities investigated and collected 16 water samples from the camping water supplying system (cafeteria filters) and 235 rectal swabs were collected from students ,staffs and other workers for screening bacteriological examination. Out of these samples 82 samples were favorable for Diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli (DEC). DEC can cause mild diarrhea to severe hemorrhagic colitis based on the infection type of E-coli.

Water delivery at the camp was considered as the most possible cause of the outbreak in this report. It was discovered that during the outbreak time, the filtration given by a water purifier at a camp cafeteria was inadequate to eliminate pollutants. Environmental investigators found that the piping attached to an auto-chlorination system was pulled out from the storage tank for water. And the residual free chlorine level cannot trigger from the water samples since it is lower than the standard value, which is 0.2ppm. And there have been lot of waterborne infections linked with some variables like, the improper cross-link among the reservoir and drinking water pipes, malfunction of disinfection system, discharges into underground water tank. Water delivery at the camp was considered as the most possible cause of the outbreak in this report. For the resolution in regarding to the outbreak the water filter in cafeteria was replaced with a reverse osmosis membrane which is suitable for killing microorganisms and bacteria while process of purification and Chlorination was reactivated for disinfecting all water delivery system in the school area.

This outbreak shows the significance of drinking water safety management in community and highlights the need for periodic cleaning and monitoring to stop future waterborne outbreaks.

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E-Coli Outbreak and the Significance of Drinking Water Safety Management. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from
“E-Coli Outbreak and the Significance of Drinking Water Safety Management.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
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