Town told to boil water and close primary schools after deadly diarrhoea and vomiting bug is found in the tap water of thousands of homes

A bug that causes sickness and diarrhoea has been found in the water supply in part of North Somerset.

Residents in and around the small town of Clevedon have been told by Bristol Water, to boil their tap water before use after Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite resistant to chlorine, was discovered in the supply.

The company said the notice is likely to be in place for 48 hours.

People living in Clevedon with a postcode of BS21 or BS49 have been told to boil their drinking water until further notice after the parasite Cryptosporidium, which causes watery diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and dehydration, was found in local samples.

Bristol Water, who issued the notice at around 5.45pm on Thursday, has staff going door-to-door supplying bottled water to ‘vulnerable customers’, such as the elderly and children, living in the local area.

Clevedon School and Mary Elton Primary School are closed today for ‘health and safety reasons’.

The tap water warning is not expected to be lifted until Sunday January 14 at the earliest.

Cryptosporidium can be life-threatening in people with weak immune systems such as those undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplants.

Two primary schools closed

Dean Hudd, headteacher at Mary Elton Primary School, said: ‘The two schools, Mary Elton and Clevedon, that have been affected by the contaminated water have made the decision to close on Friday January 12.

‘This decision has been based on Health and Safety reasons. We envisage that the school will be safe and reopen on Monday January 15.’

The Clevedon treatment works has been suspended and water is being supplied by other sources.

Compensation will be paid to those affected.

‘Advice to boil water is a precaution’

Bristol Water advises tap water should not be used for drinking, cooking (unless boiled), bathing, cleaning teeth, feeding pets, cleaning dishes, washing clothes or heating baby food.

Thara Raj, a consultant in health protection for Public Health England South West said: ‘We would remind people in the affected areas to follow the advice from Bristol Water and boil their drinking water and allow to cool before use.

‘The levels of Cryptosporidium detected in the water supply is low and the advice to boil the water is as a precaution.

‘If people feel unwell or experience symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting they should contact NHS 111. If your symptoms become severe, you should contact your GP.’

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