From Iceland — Suspected E. Coli Outbreak In Southeast Iceland Town

Suspected E. Coli Outbreak In Southeast Iceland Town

Published August 28, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

The water treatment centre in Kirkjubæjarklaustur has issued an announcement advising residents to boil their water, as samples taken from the water are suspected to contain the E. coli bacteria. Further testing is being conducted, with results expected later today.

Escherichia coli exists in the intestines of humans and many animals. While it is normally harmless, and in fact beneficial, some strains can cause serious illness. This is marked by severe dehydration, diarrhea, and fever. It can be fatal for those with pre-existing conditions.

This is not the first time e. coli has cropped up in Iceland, either.

E. coli, when it appears, mostly commmonly shows up in natural bathing springs and even lakes, although this is quite rare. However, it can also appear in food and drinking water, as might be the case in Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

A common mode of transmission, in Iceland at least, is from fecal matter—whether human or animal—making its way into warm water or organic surfaces. This transmission can be prevented by simply washing immediately after possible contact and before touching anything else.

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