Girl struck down by nasty bug. Is Clemont's water to blame?

MYSTERY: Ashlynn Frost, 3, has been ill for more than two weeks.
MYSTERY: Ashlynn Frost, 3, has been ill for more than two weeks. Contributed

A YOUNG Clermont mother is demanding answers about how safe the town's drinking water is after her toddler was infected by the highly contagious water-borne parasites giardia and cryptosporidium.

Sandy Frost's 30-month-old daughter Ashlynn - her "happy, healthy, clever little girl" - fell ill more than two weeks ago with persistent and foul-smelling diarrhoea.

Stool sample pathology showed the presence of the tiny parasites which cause malnutrition and malabsorption in victims.

There is no specific treatment for cryptosporidiosis, which is a disease notifiable to Queensland Health.

A Qld Health spokeswoman yesterday confirmed Ashlynn's was the only recorded case in the Mackay Hospital and Health Service area since January 1.

"We tell Ash she can't go to the pool or school because she's got bugs in her tummy, but if she takes her medicine it will go away," Mrs Frost said.

"She doesn't understand why she can't go to kindy or swimming lessons, and I won't send her because I don't want other kids to have it.

-Sandy Frost

"You just wouldn't think you would be able to get it here, especially considering the water is tested so much, daily, and the press releases in the paper say it is safe to drink."

Mrs Frost said Ashlynn didn't drink juice or soft drinks, only filtered tap water.

"I'm not on a witch-hunt," she said, adding council officers have since told her the local pool had tested negative for the parasites and test results on other water sources in the region were yet to come in.

"I just want to make sure nobody else gets it and we know what is going on so we can buy bottled water if we need to, or boil it.

"The doctor said to me Ashlynn is not the only one.

"I didn't ask the numbers, I was just too gob-smacked at the time."

Ashlynn will have another stool sample sent for testing later this week to test the effectiveness of a course of antibiotics.

An Isaac council spokesperson said the organisation was committed to producing safe water.

"It is not uncommon for small children to have exposure to cryptosporidium as elements of personal hygiene are difficult to manage and the species inhabits humans and animals across a wide variety of sources and the general environment," the spokesperson said.

"Council wishes to emphasise that routine water quality samples of the town's water supply is carried out by experienced operators, and testing is also carried out by Queensland Health.

"Further to this, due to increased hardness levels related to higher calcium levels in the Theresa Creek dam catchment, council has increased its testing and results indicate that the water treatment plant is sufficiently removing these adverse element to meet Queensland Health drinking standards."

There was an outbreak of cryptosporidium in the children's wet play area at Moranbah's Greg Cruikshank Aquatic Centre last March which led to its temporary closure.

 

** What is Cryptosporidiosis?

It is an intestinal infection caused by a microscopic parasite and appears to be a common cause of acute diarrhoea in young children. It can survive in a moist environment for up to six months.

 

What do you think about the water quality in the area?



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