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hiphop-elements.com • View topic - to the canadian cats on the board.... beware.

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PostPosted: 05/07/01 01:58:00 PM 
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Joined: 04/17/01 05:00:00 PM
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Location: rock hell, sc
Monday May 7 11:55 AM ET
Parasite May Have Infected Hundreds in Canada

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The potentially deadly parasite lurking in the water supply of a small Canadian prairie town has undoubtedly affected hundreds of people across the country, top medical experts said on Monday.

Officials said on Sunday there were 36 confirmed cases of a flu-like illness caused by water tainted with the parasite cryptosporidium in North Battleford, a community of 15,000 located in west-central Saskatchewan.

Dr. David Butler-Jones, the medical officer of Saskatchewan, said the final number of people affected would be much higher and that victims -- all of whom had been in North Battleford recently -- would be found across the country.

``It will be in the hundreds, almost certainly, but exactly what the number is we're not sure,'' he told CBC television.

Although three recent deaths have been linked to the parasite, Butler-Jones said the presence of cryptosporidium had only been confirmed in one case.

The victims had all had serious existing medical conditions before the parasite struck the town, he said.

If a connection is proven between the microscopic parasite and the deaths, North Battleford's water crisis would be Canada's second recent bout of fatalities linked to contaminated water.

Seven people died and more than 2,000 people fell seriously ill last year after E. coli bacteria (news - web sites) contaminated drinking water in Walkerton, a small Ontario farming town.

In Ottawa, the minority Conservative party called on the federal government to draw up a national set of enforceable water quality regulations.

``Canadians need to know that wherever they go in Canada there are minimum acceptable standards for drinking water... We need to examine ways to prevent pollution of our water supply,'' Conservative leader Joe Clark told a news conference.

Experts in North Battleford are already concentrating their attention on a sedimentation chamber at one of the towns's two water treatment plants, which stopped working properly for one month in March.

Butler-Jones said residents would have to continue boiling their water for several weeks to come.

``I hope we're past the situation where we'll have new cases related directly to the water because the incubation period is now pretty well passed, assuming people have been boiling their water, and we sure hope they have,'' he said.

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