NOW: Bacterial Infection Warning

( – In an alarming and unpleasant situation that is making Americans doubtful about even drinking water, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that various pathogens like E. coli and campylobacter caused 214 outbreaks of enteric diseases.

These outbreaks resulted in over 2,000 illnesses connected to drinking water, and shockingly, 80 % of these cases were associated with public water systems.

While the study analyzed data from 28 states and highlighted that legionella is the primary responsible for these outbreaks, these bacteria can be found in biofilms which leads to the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease.

When combined with the prevalence of harmful substances like “forever chemicals,” microplastics, and toxic contaminants such as arsenic, uranium, and lead in our water, it raised a crucial question: Is it safe to drink tap water?

The director of Infection Prevention at Houston’s Memorial Hermann Health System, Dr. Linda Yancey, acknowledged that water in the U.S. is generally safe but advised caution.

“We have one of the most advanced water systems in the world, but untreated tap water is not the best choice for some,” she explained.

Although drinking tap water when thirsty is generally fine, experts warned against using it in devices like neti pots, CPAP machines, and humidifiers.

“Our body has defenses against these organisms like the acid in our stomachs and the robust immune protection in the GI tract,” Yancey clarified. “But when we use tap water in ways that bypass these protections, it can cause trouble.”

She continued clarifying that water from CPAP machines and humidifiers can also cause pneumonia when it enters the lungs directly, and nasal irrigation poses a slight risk of amebic infection when the water comes into contact with nerves.

Assistant research professor at the University of Maryland, Dr. Rianna Murray, remarked on the lack of awareness regarding water contamination risks, especially in regions with consistently good water quality or among communities with language barriers.

According to the CDC report, even private water systems like wells are not immune to contamination risks. The report called for enhanced water quality monitoring.

While experts also encouraged municipal water supply workers to report any changes in water appearance, taste or smell to the water utility, the Environmental Protection Agency indicated that it is also wise to review the city’s annual drinking water quality report.

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