Ive written about noroviruses a few times on ERV. Theyre insidious little bugs that hide on door handles and food utensils (… and food…) and if you ingest them, you poop. A lot. Like I have said before, any time you hear about a ton of people getting sick on a cruise ship, you can bet it was probably because of norovirus.
If you get sick at home, you are pooping into a toilet (obviously). That poop goes into the cities water supply, is treated with various chemicals/UV light/etc to kill viruses/bacteria/etc, then put back into the worlds water supply. That water you drink out of the tap has likewise been treated various ways, so everyone doesnt get norovirus over and over and over and over just from drinking a glass of water. That treatment step before it gets back into your house is especially important for people who get their water from ground wells– You dont know that water was treated properly from the facility that released it (human, farm animal, etc), so you treat it before it goes out to customers.
That is, unless you are a community in Wisconsin that does not treat water going into homes, and wont because the Republican legislature squashed attempts to mandate the water be treated.
What is the net effect of that?
Adenovirus. Enterovirus. Norovirus. Hepatitis A. Rotavirus. In a quarter of the water samples tested. In four months, there were 1843 GI ‘events’ (extreme poopage) in the households enrolled in the study. Surprise surprise, when norovirus viral load of the water was high, the incidence of GI ‘events’ was high.
People in Wisconsin are getting sick from drinking tap water.
So, duh, make water facilities treat their water.
Rep. Erik Severson (R-Star Prairie), an emergency room physician, lauded the rigor of the study, but said the results shouldn’t mean mandatory disinfection.
“It goes back to choice for the community,” Severson said. “The communities have to make the decision.”
In some cases, taxpayers might be willing to put up with an occasional day off from work or a case of diarrhea to avoid paying hundreds or thousands of dollars in costs in upgrades per household, he said.
You need to ‘check your privilege’, Dr. Severson. A ‘day off work’ when youre pooping your guts out is not exactly a ‘day off work’. Its a sick day. And if you are living pay-check-to-pay-check, a ‘day off work’ is something you cant afford. Americans go to work sick all the time because of this (or they just dont have sick/vacation days at all), especially in this economy. If you are the head of the household, you dont have time for ‘a day off work’ to poop. And its not just a ‘day off work’. You shed virus for days after you feel better. Which means if you take a ‘day off work’ instead of a few, you go to work and likely infect your coworkers. How much money do companies lose from these little norovirus outbreaks? When numerous employees are taking a ‘day off work’ to poop?
And then there is this little bit of info from the study:
Estimates from the period 1 NoV-GI model for children less than five years old suggest that norovirus-contaminated drinking water was responsible for 63% to 44% (calculated from means and medians, respectively) of the AGI in this young age group.
Depending on the metric you use– about 50% of the GI events in kids, babies less than 5 years old, were caused by unsafe drinking water.
Hmmm. What is one of the leading causes of death in infants world-wide, Dr. Severson? Lets think. Lets think real hard. Could it be diarrhea? Maybe? Its not just adults taking a ‘day off work’. Its babies getting infected who are at risk of dying. Dying from drinking tap water in WISCONSIN. Certainly this isnt the developing world, but what at the medical expenses of these 50% of GI events being NEEDLESSLY caused by drinking water? How many of the parents who have to take their babies to the ER for rehydration dont have medical insurance? Where do their bills get passed? To the taxpayers.
So, instead of spending money on treating drinking water properly– we are going to spend more money after people get sick to take a ‘day off’ and medical bills.
Thats a great plan there, Dr. Severson.
What a joke. A shitty, shitty joke.