Residents at risk of Cryptosporidium exposure are urged to boil water

United Utilities, the company responsible for supplying water to households across the North West of England, has notified residents of a risk of cryptosporidium poisoning, warning hundreds of thousands of customers in Lancashire to boil water before use.

The company says water used for drinking, food preparation and teeth brushing should be boiled as a precautionary measure until further notice. Water used for other purposes, including bathing and washing clothes, need not be boiled.

The warning comes after traces of cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite which can cause gastroenteritis, were found during routine tests at Franklaw water treatment works in Preston. The warning applies to households in Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Preston, South Ribble and Wyre.

'a precautionary measure'

United Utilities said that the warning, which affects about 300,000 people, has been issued as a purely precautionary measure. The company is carrying out further tests and is monitoring water supplies. They hope to be able to lift the warning as soon as possible.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council emphasised that the warning had been issued as a precautionary measure. He added that the Council did not plan to close schools in the affected area at present.

An expert in viruses, Dr. Derek Gatherer of Lancaster University, said that cryptosporidium had little effect on most people, apart from a short burst of diarrhoea, although it can cause more serious symptoms in children and elderly people.

No outbreak expected

He did not expect that an outbreak of cryptosporidium would result in serious clinical implications, adding that people in the affected area should not be unduly concerned as long as they heed the advice to boil water before use.

Compensation claims for the illness

Quittance's network of personal injury solicitors have helped people claim compensation for a range of illnesses caused by food and water poisoning.

Contact Quittance today for more information on 0800 612 7456 if you believe you have been affected by cryptosporidium poisoning and would like to discuss your options.