OSDH begins sewage monitoring with stomach illnesses on the rise


Residents of Hydro and surrounding areas have experienced an increase in stomach illnesses. The Oklahoma State Department of Health is currently conducting sewage monitoring for answers.

The OSDH is still trying to determine the cause of these illnesses. As a precaution, ministry officials are encouraging Hydro people to drink bottled water or boil tap water for the time being.

OSDH and Caddo County officials said they discovered a common thread between the cases.

“We started doing these investigations to try to determine exactly what is causing these stomach illnesses,” said Erica Rankin-Riley, OSDH public information officer. “Discussing with locals, water became one of the common sources.”

During sewage monitoring, two pathogens were identified among the positive cases in the laboratory.

“To really clarify and give the community a definitive answer as to what is causing these diseases,” Rankin-Riley said.

Two parents who had children hospitalized with E. coli infections spoke with News 9.

“Just having my baby feel like that was just awful,” parent Taylor Bierig said.

Bierig said her 3-year-old daughter was one of many battling stomach illness in the Hydro area.

“Everyone who was in the hospital that night, the doctors said they had the exact same thing,” Bierig said. “I was in tears every day because I didn’t know what to do for her.”

Stephanie Field said her 6-year-old daughter was in the same boat as Bierig’s child.

“It’s been a long process,” Fields said.

What started as a stomach illness for her daughter quickly escalated into HUS, a rare condition usually caused by an E. coli infection.

“Her kidneys were starting to fail and she needed dialysis,” Fields said. “She felt terrible. She was miserable.”

After a few weeks, both girls returned home feeling much better and are now on the road to recovery.

“As this is a dynamic and rapidly changing situation, at this point in the outbreak we can confirm that new cases are still occurring,” Rankin-Riley said. “That is why, out of caution, we have taken the proactive initiative with the health alert.”

“We do not have confirmation that water is the source of these complaints of stomach illnesses, but we recommend that people who live, visit, work or attend school in Hydro consider temporarily drinking water. bottled water or boiled tap water while at Hydro.”

They also suggest not using ice made from tap water and avoiding getting tap water in your mouth while showering. They recommend residents use boiled tap water or bottled water for brushing teeth, washing fruits or vegetables, washing dishes and washing hands.

If you suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, fever and muscle aches, authorities encourage you to seek medical attention. They also suggest asking your healthcare provider to test for common stomach illnesses caused by bacteria.

Officials said people with the above symptoms should avoid public spaces until 24 hours after symptoms resolve.


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