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Elderly very vulnerable to Cryptosporidiosis


Elderly very vulnerable to cryptosporidiosis

Áine Ryan

THE vulnerability of elderly members of the community has been highlighted by the owner of Westport’s Pilgrim’s Rest Nursing Home.   
The Mayo News spoke to Noel Marley yesterday (Monday) about the ongoing boil water notice which was issued last week after number cases of cryptosporidiosis were identified in the Westport area.    
Mr Marley explained how the nursing home was notified and about the measures they have taken. “We were notified on Wednesday last, and the HSE came to us with  the guidelines sheet. They were particularly concerned, as we were, because of the potential impact on our residents, who are among the most physically vulnerable in our community. We can say to the staff and some of our residents not to use the tap water because of the boil water notice, but there is a risk some of the residents will forget,” Mr Marley said.
“Fortunately, we were able to use water from an alternative scheme in Kilmeena for our drinking water and some of our domestic needs. We are pleased there is no evidence of the [cryptosporidium] spores in the water according to the tests, but we are anxious because the longer this goes on the greater the risk,” he continued.  
Erring on the side of caution
Meanwhile, the proximity of Rice College to Knockranny and Buckwaria, two areas that do not have a boil water notice, has left the Principal of Rice College, Mr Michael Rabbett, unsure about the school’s status regarding the shock warning issued last Wednesday to over 6,000 Westport residents. He told The Mayo News the school was erring on the side of caution since it had received a boil water notification from Mayo County Council last week.
“I first heard about the notice when a parent texted me to alert me to the fact that it had been  announced … I immediately informed all the staff and parents by text and put up a notification on Facebook advising that the drinking water at the school was unsafe. We sealed off all the drinking water fonts and advised students to bring in their own water. We also sell bottled water in the school shop,” Mr Rabbett said yesterday.  
He added: “I was hoping it would be resolved by now since tests have shown that the water supply is clear. Two students went home feeling sick at lunchtime today having said they had inadvertently used tap water at home this morning to wash their teeth. There was a staff member out on Friday who was unwell and thought it might be related to drinking water.”

Hope for resolution
Award-winning restauranteur Frankie Mallon of An Port Mór restaurant in Westport had been hearing rumours of an outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis in the area from Sunday, May 3.
“On Wednesday, then, a HSE official came into the restaurant and gave us a leaflet of instructions regarding precautions. But we had already taken action since Sunday and had been buying a supply of water from the supermarket. We actually ran out of the water we had bought on a couple of occasions, which meant our customers had to buy our bottled water.
“I don’t think it has affected our numbers [of customers] so far. However, if this continued for a long period of time it would be definitely have a bad impact on tourism. I’m hoping it will be resolved this week,” Frankie Mallon said.