Community waterborne outbreak linked to a Firefighting Response during the COVID-19 emergency

Waterborne outbreak linked to Firefighting

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Abstract


Background. On 6 March 2020, a big fire in a village forced the firefighters to draw
water simultaneously from many sources, including the Adige river. From 9 March, an
increasing number of inhabitants reported gastrointestinal symptoms. We describe the
outbreak and the challenges linked to the concurrent COVID-19 spread.
Methods. Residents with enteric symptoms and their relatives were interviewed and
samples from some of the patients and public water pipelines were tested for enteric
pathogens with microbiological and molecular methods.
Results. By 20 March, 182 people reported symptoms and 131 met the case definition.
Norovirus GI/GII and other pathogens were found in human and water samples.
Conclusions. Contamination of the public water network with sewage-contaminated
river water through the firefighters pressurized water tank was the suspected source of
the outbreak. The investigation was partly hampered due to the SARS-CoV-2 emergency.
Control measures included avoiding tap water, alternative water supplies and chlorination
of public water.

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Authors

Simona Nascetti - Hygiene and Public Health Service, Azienda Sanitaria dell'Alto Adige, Merano, Italy

Luca Busani - Dipartimento Malattie Infettive, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy

Franco Bartoli - Hygiene and Public Health Service, Azienda Sanitaria dell'Alto Adige, Merano, Italy

Riccardo Orioli - Hygiene and Public Health Service, Azienda Sanitaria dell'Alto Adige, Merano, Italy

Alberta Stenico - Biological laboratory, Agency for Environment and Climate Protection of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Laives, Italy

Dagmar Regele - Department of Preventive Health Care, Azienda Sanitaria dell'Alto Adige, Bolzano, Italy

How to Cite
Nascetti, S. ., Busani, L., Bartoli, F., Orioli, R., Stenico, A., & Regele, D. (2021). Community waterborne outbreak linked to a Firefighting Response during the COVID-19 emergency: Waterborne outbreak linked to Firefighting. Annali dell’Istituto Superiore Di Sanità, 57(3). Retrieved from https://annali.iss.it/index.php/anna/article/view/1317
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