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Molalla testing city water for Cryptosporidium

The testing follows a report from a Molalla mother that her 4-year-old son has been diagnosed with Cryptosporidium.

After a Molalla mother posted news of her four-year-old son being diagnosed with Cryptosporidium, rumors have been running rampant on social media about the parasite being present in Molalla's water.

Amy Scott posted a message on Facebook Thursday evening saying, "The County called me late this afternoon and talked with me for a while. They said that my son's diagnosis is the first one in the county in two weeks."

Scott said she deleted her previous posts about her little boy's diagnosis because "it has become extremely hostile in private messages, and I don't want my posts to contribute to unneeded drama."

Molalla Public Works Director Gerald Fisher said this morning that because of the young boy's illness, the city is testing for Cryptosporidium in Molalla's water and will notify residents if the parasite is detected.

Cryptosporidium infection is an illness caused by microscopic Cryptosporidium parasites that infect the intestines, causing diarrhea that can become life-threatening.

"We received a call from a local resident that her child was sick, but we have not to this day received confirmation from the Oregon Health Authority or its drinking water program that the child has Cryptosporidium," Fisher said. "She wanted to let me know, but we have not received anything official from the state that says there is a confirmed case of Cryptosporidium, as of right now, in Molalla. Until I get something from the state that says we have a confirmed case, I don't know if it's true or not. But we are treating it as if there could be an issue, or as if we had been notified that there is Cryptosporidium in our water."

Fisher said the city tested the water for coliform bacteria and E.coli. Both of those results came back as negative within 24 hours. He said the city also requested a detection kit to test the water, and he had his crews flush out waterlines in the area.

As of Friday morning, Fisher said, the city has not been requested to notify the public that Cryptosporidium has been detected in Molalla drinking water.

"I talked with the Oregon Health Authority representative today and told them to let us know, any time in the process, that we need to do a notification," he said. "We are following the procedure to the letter, and working with the state agency, and there is nothing that leads me to believe that we have a Cryptosporidium issue with our water at this time."

Fisher said it takes about a month to get the test results, and that the city had not been required to do any testing for the parasite.

"But we are doing it anyway," he said. "It's part of our due diligence. We treat things like this seriously, and we want to make sure there is no health crisis to our water users."

Fisher noted that "some of the hysteria that's going on with Portland's Bull Run is they don't filter" the water from that source.

"We treat, filter and chlorinate our water," he said. "We take regular samples of our water and report to the drinking water program on a regular basis.

"So I asked the guys to look back in the historical records, and there have not been any cases in Molalla of Cryptosporidium that they can find," he said. "And at this time we would appreciate everyone's patience while we go through this due diligence process to see that there is no Cryptosporidium in our water."

Fisher said if the city does detect Cryptosporidium in Molalla's water, state requirements and any other recommendations for notification to the public will be followed.

"The message we have been giving everyone is that we are on top of this," he said. "But although we don't believe there is a problem, we are doing the tests anyway to put people's minds at ease.

"The people who treat our drinking water are professionals certified by the state and they hold the safety of the community as of the highest importance," he said.

"Cryptosporidium llives in the intestine of infected humans or animals. An infected person or animal sheds Crypto parasites in the stool. Millions of Crypto germs can be released in a bowel movement from an infected human or animal. Shedding of Crypto in the stool begins when the symptoms begin and can last for weeks after the symptoms (e.g., diarrhea) stop. You can become infected after accidentally swallowing the parasite. Cryptosporidium may be found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces from infected humans or animals. Crypto is not spread by contact with blood."

Here is the link. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto/gen_info/infect.html