FOSR’s Summer E. coli Testing Project, Providing frequent, accredited E. coli concentration results for river recreation users

The goal of FOSR’s summer E. coli testing project is to provide frequent, real-time accredited E. coli concentration results for river recreation users to make their own informed decision about potential associated health risks when recreating in the areas of the river tested.

If fecal coliform is detected in the water, it indicates that there was recent fecal contamination in the water systems.  Detection of E. coli bacteria in the water indicates recent fecal contamination as well as a possible presence of other disease-causing microorganisms or pathogens.  As the level of E. coli bacterium increases the potential health risk from exposure to pathogenic organisms also increases.

Signs and symptoms of exposure to waterborne diseases may include;

  • Gastrointestinal illnesses such as
    • gas
    • abdominal cramping
    • diarrhea
    • nausea, which may result in vomiting
    • loss of appetite
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Exposure to open wounds by the waterborne pathogens can cause infections of the wound that may result in extended, and sometimes painful, healing time.
  • In rare causes developing a life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome

In mild to moderate cases, one may not associate their symptoms with recent water related recreational activities especially if the symptoms do not manifest until three or four days later.  Also, not all people will be affected to the same degree; young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of experiencing illness and more serious complications caused by harmful E. coli bacteria and associated pathogens.

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