October 17, 2007

Tap Water in Norwegian Capital Unsafe

Water and sanitation officials in the Norwegian capital of Oslo issued a warning Wednesday that the city's tap water supply was unsafe for consumption.

The Oslo Department of Water and Sanitation said in a news release that the presence of microscopic Giardia lamblia and cryptosporidium parasites had made tap water unsafe and urged citizens to boil their water before consumption or use, Aftenposten said.

The bacteria found in Oslo's water supply is identical to the microscopic parasites found in the tap water used in the city of Bergen.

Food Safety Authority district chief Kjetil Berg said the parasites, which initially come from animal or human excrement, cause numerous physical symptoms in humans when consumed.

One can get stomach and intestinal infection. Symptoms can include stomach pain, diarrhea and pyrosis (heartburn). From Bergen we have unfortunately seen that increasing numbers are ill for an extended period and have symptoms of exhaustion, Berg said.

Aftenposten said authorities did not know how long it would take to clear Oslo's water supply of the parasitic infection.