Giardia Gastro reported

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Giardia Gastro reported

Postby dazintaz » Wed 02 May, 2018 9:49 pm

Just reporting 7 of our walking group who completed the OT last week have all fallen ill this week from drinking water from tanks. Please exercise caution and boil water before drinking if you intend walking over the coming weeks or until any significant rainfall.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Wed 02 May, 2018 10:02 pm

Have they been tested and diagnosed as having giardia or is it just gastro? Giardia is different from gastro and would be a far more serious issue.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby dazintaz » Wed 02 May, 2018 10:11 pm

ILUVSWTAS wrote:Have they been tested and diagnosed as having giardia or is it just gastro? Giardia is different from gastro and would be a far more serious issue.


Its no coincidence, we are now in 3 different states VIC NSW and TAS and its 7 days after completing the walk and all experiencing the symptoms of a Giardia infection. Lots of people on the track, lack of rain (1 empty tank at Bert Nichol hut) we didn't boil water before drinking. 2 of us have been to the doc today. Not good.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Wed 02 May, 2018 10:28 pm

Doesn't sound good at all and no it isn't nice.
But Gastro can be contagious, and Giardia is a far more serious health issue than normal gastro. Get your doctor to take a stool sample done to be sure. Giardia can stay in your system for months and months where gastro will clear within a week.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Thu 03 May, 2018 8:12 am

On receipt of a positive Giardia stool sample test, I would highly recommend contacting Parks Tasmania.

They’d like to know so they can provide info to departing walkers, and treat the water tanks chemically.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby north-north-west » Thu 03 May, 2018 9:41 am

Can we be sure the culprit is the tank water and not the usual contamination from handling taps, toilet doors and the like?
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Thu 03 May, 2018 10:11 am

Surely you wouldn’t find a group of seven people where they ALL don’t wash their hands before eating?
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby north-north-west » Thu 03 May, 2018 10:18 am

Dunno.

But the problem (Giardia or gastro) and the source (tanks/other water source/hygiene/food) need to be confirmed before trying to decontaminate the tanks.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Nuts » Thu 03 May, 2018 10:32 am

Wow, late April and dry tanks.. thirsty bunch

Adult gastro has fast onset/ short incubation, catch from another then from each other even. If the symptoms have now been lingering longer- definitely- get to a doc.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby South_Aussie_Hiker » Thu 03 May, 2018 10:59 am

Agreed. That’s why I said this:

On receipt of a positive Giardia stool sample test


Parks may even be able to shed some light on it if others who were on the track have also been diligent enough to report it to them.

I don’t normally treat tank water, but the one time I did was an exceptionally dry and hot spell on the OLT where the levels were getting low - and the water that was remaining was noticeably warmer.

Hope you improve soon Daz!
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Azza » Sat 05 May, 2018 10:21 am

Correlation does not equal causation.

Giardia is found on surfaces or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals.

It could be the water tanks, or it could just be the general state of the huts and facilities.

I've observed some pretty messy situations on the track and have no doubt how easy it is for a sick person rushing back and forth to the toilet to unintentionally contaminate everything.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Graham17 » Thu 17 May, 2018 7:36 pm

All poosums not on a leash will be shot on sight
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby doogs » Fri 18 May, 2018 5:10 am

A friend was diagnosed with Giardia after a trip to the Southern Ranges a couple of years ago. He most likely picked it up from the long drop toilet at the Cockle Creek ranger station when partaking in a pre-trip poop.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Scout » Fri 22 Jun, 2018 11:44 am

I praise people who putting out Giardia warnings. It is the most horrible parasite. Last year a group of us fell ill for months after drinking from the tanks in Darlington at Maria Island. Water from most tanks and running streams is often safe but all it takes is one bug.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Boromir » Mon 25 Jun, 2018 3:55 pm

What was the outcome? Giardia or Gastro?
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby warnabrother » Wed 04 Jul, 2018 3:18 pm

take a look at the intake mesh on top of most of the tanks and see all the possum poo trapped in there.. the water flows right over and through it.. we filtered water EVERYWHERE on the OLT.. takes 2 mins to do a few liters through the Sawyer.. I don't like the taste of possum poo :)
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Nuts » Thu 05 Jul, 2018 1:45 pm

Some of the older huts have tanks attached and getting on the roof presents an easier path to possums.

This one is a reportable disease. I expect if it was in fact giardia, we'd know by now. So too from the many thousands of non- filterers of the past.
It's obviously a very rare set of conditions and happenstance, an infection in Tassie mtns.

(as I understand, bringing water to the boil is enough to kill Giardia parasites)
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Bindel » Wed 27 Mar, 2019 7:24 am

I finished the overland track 7 days ago and having gasgro symptoms. I didnt treat the water as the volunteer ranger said there was no need. Regretting that decision after reading about possum poo.
Dazintaz, did you get a confirmation of Giardia from the GP?
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby dazintaz » Sat 22 Jun, 2019 7:26 am

Bindel wrote:I finished the overland track 7 days ago and having gasgro symptoms. I didnt treat the water as the volunteer ranger said there was no need. Regretting that decision after reading about possum poo.
Dazintaz, did you get a confirmation of Giardia from the GP?


Yes mate, Doc said it was Giardia.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby benoloughlin » Tue 25 Jun, 2019 11:24 am

A couple of years ago I contracted campylobacter from inadvertently drinking water from Dove Lake.
It was a positive ID from my doctor - its also another 'notifiable' disease.

Campylobacter is also present in the streams on the OT as its carried in the faeces of wombats and macropods.
Campylobacter was bad enough where I had access to medical attention. I can't imagine how crippling and awful contracting campylobacter or giardia would be several days into a multi-day trip.
Its why I always use micropur purification tablets or boil my water and religiously attend to personal hygiene while out on the track.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Son of a Beach » Tue 25 Jun, 2019 11:30 am

How did you confirm the source of the infection?

It may well have been from a lake or stream. In particular, Dove Lake has a LOT of humans roaming around it. However, it is still more likely to have been from, for example, touching a door handle in the toilets at Dove Lake (or anywhere else for that matter) than from the water in Dove Lake.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby benoloughlin » Tue 25 Jun, 2019 11:44 am

Son of a Beach wrote:How did you confirm the source of the infection?

It may well have been from a lake or stream. In particular, Dove Lake has a LOT of humans roaming around it. However, it is still more likely to have been from, for example, touching a door handle in the toilets at Dove Lake (or anywhere else for that matter) than from the water in Dove Lake.


As I said, its a notifiable disease. That means that reports are sent to and collated at Departments of Health and incidents of infection are sent to general practitioners in a bulletin. So, there's quite a bit if information sharing to track disease incidents, multiple infections and to isolate the source of infection.

In my discussion with the doctor she informed me that the streams and waterways in the CMLStC NP along the Overland Track were well-known sources for both giardia and campylobacter and that the incidence of people succumbing to those diseases while in the park being in contact with the water was increasing.
Also:
- I didn't use the toilet facilities at Dove Lake car park.
- I did go into Dove Lake in a kayak and I did take a few droplets of lake water on my water bottle which was lying in a pool of water in the kayak cockpit from water dripping from the paddle.
- I wasn't in contact with any other water source inside the NP at the time
- I got sick after that event.
- There were no other incidents in the area at the time (such as people working or staying at the hotel where I worked) that would have suggested an alternative source of infection.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Son of a Beach » Tue 25 Jun, 2019 12:41 pm

So the source was not actually confirmed.

Again, I'm not trying to say that it was NOT the source. Just that there may have been some other source. It can come from water, but the more usual source for Campylobacter is food - in particular, chicken.

By the way, I've had Campylobacter so I sympathise. I was in hospital for a few days. It's horrendous.

the incidence of people succumbing to those diseases while in the park being in contact with the water was increasing


This is the issue I have with all these reports. Just about everybody in the park has contact with water the park. It's almost impossible to avoid. And the water always gets the blame.

But those same people also have contact with each other, with huts, with toilets, with all sorts of other things in the park. From what I've read, the surfaces in the huts and toilets (that the vast majority are in contact with) are far more likely to be sources of infection than the water in the creeks and lakes (although I'm NOT discounting the water - we all know waters can be sources of infection if you don't choose your location well, or are just unlucky).

So to say that the incidence of people succumbing to those diseases in the park and that they have contact with the water does not demonstrate that water is the source of infection for some, many or any of them. I suspect that water is the source for some, but that for the majority the source is elsewhere. Of course I don't have any real evidence for this either. :-)
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Nuts » Wed 26 Jun, 2019 5:02 pm

benoloughlin wrote:
Son of a Beach wrote:
In my discussion with the doctor she informed me that the streams and waterways in the CMLStC NP along the Overland Track were well-known sources for both giardia and campylobacter and that the incidence of people succumbing to those diseases while in the park being in contact with the water was increasing.


I have asked for access to the database from Tas DHHS. If anyone has a shortcut maybe they can consider sharing?

I'm sure you can understand that it is in the best interests of all those involved to exaggerate the incidence rather than not. And, really, good on them, there's not exactly any harm in filtering water. But a Lot of people don't. Personally, i'd prefer to make a decision based on fact but if indeed the occurrence on the Overland Track is well known, even on that, the responsible authority is doing a rather poor job of spreading the news. I don't doubt the odd case and it's certainly possible some natural spread outside of that between humans. On the human side, I would expect hygiene has only improved in recent years.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby benoloughlin » Wed 26 Jun, 2019 11:29 pm

I am merely passing on the information accurately and in good faith. You can accept it or not - it really doesn't matter to me either way.
And your opinion on the medical advice I received will not stop me from continuing to advise people to boil or purify their water and to be vigilant about personal hygiene which is consistent with the advice from Parks.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Nuts » Thu 27 Jun, 2019 9:17 am

All good then. It's news to me about the watercourses, given the wide ranging incubation period and life-cycle and obvious need for many hosts, its your doctors opinion I doubt, but i'm all ears! Perhaps there has been some water testing, i'd expect there could only have been some water testing to pin the disease down in such a way? so i'll choose to (take you seriously &) try to follow that up. If Giardia is at such a level i'll definitely re-shape any advice i'd give (those people who choose not to take/use a treatment method).

Here is the current park service OL advice : "If you need to collect water between huts, deep lakes and flowing creeks and rivers are safest. However the quality cannot be guaranteed, so you may prefer to boil water for 3 minutes, or use iodine tablets or a water filter"
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby benoloughlin » Thu 27 Jun, 2019 10:20 am

THanks Nuts.
It was also around the same time that I did read (newspaper report?) that one of the things that devils were dying from on the more popular walking tracks was giardia infection. Some of the native animals (quolls and devils are the main culprits) dig up human faeces if not buried deep enough. My understanding is that giardia is carried by people and its presence in the waterways is probably due to inappropriate toileting near waterways. Whereas campylobacter is present in the droppings of macropods and wombats.

My attitude is that boiling/treating water and being vigilant about personal hygiene is 'cheap insurance' regardless of how prevalent those risks are. You only need to be infected once and it can not only ruin your experience but the experience of everyone else walking with you. Can you imagine how awful it would be to get giardia or campylobacter several days in a walk?
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Orion » Thu 27 Jun, 2019 2:33 pm

benoloughlin wrote:My attitude is that boiling/treating water and being vigilant about personal hygiene is 'cheap insurance' regardless of how prevalent those risks are. You only need to be infected once and it can not only ruin your experience but the experience of everyone else walking with you. Can you imagine how awful it would be to get giardia or campylobacter several days in a walk?


With giardiasis at least the incubation period usually means you're done walking when it hits you. And while it can be bad it isn't necessarily that horrible, relative to common viral illnesses.

I've always treated my water in Tasmania since I don't know any better and, as you point out, it's cheap insurance. But hygiene is a thornier problem to deal with and frequently gets short shrift as a result. That it is arguably the more likely route for infection is why I think people tend to discount reports of illness due to untreated water .
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby wildwanderer » Sun 30 Jun, 2019 8:57 pm

Orion wrote: But hygiene is a thornier problem to deal with and frequently gets short shrift as a result. That it is arguably the more likely route for infection is why I think people tend to discount reports of illness due to untreated water .


I tend to agree. As someone else mentioned above. If one person brings infection with them, you can imagine how easy it is for them to spread it on to the toilet door knobs, toilet seat, toilet door frames, walls and hand rails.

When one is super crook with stuff coming out all ways, Id hope they try to avoid but its easy to forcee many surfaces touches on the toilet building etc before the hands are washed. Then its a healthy person who doesnt wash their hands after doing a number one.. but has touched the door frame or toilet door knob or hand rail which the sick person touched and from there its quickly spread to the hut door knobs, water taps, kitchen surfaces.

Giardia can survive on a surface for several weeks in cool conditions.
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Re: Giardia Gastro reported

Postby Nuts » Mon 01 Jul, 2019 6:09 pm

DHHS(Tas):


"There is a risk of Giardia with the consumption of untreated raw water, including water from sources such as mountain lakes and streams.

Giardia is no longer a notifiable condition in Tasmania. This means, that when a case of Giardia is diagnosed the Department of Health is not informed.

Therefore, unfortunately, I am not able to answer your question about the incidence of Giardia on the Overland Track"
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