The City of Saratoga Springs, Utah, issued a boil water order for the northern half of the city this week after Campylobacter bacteria were discovered in the city’s culinary water system.  

According to an advisory issued by the Utah County Health Department, residents, schools, commercial businesses, and all other users of the culinary water system north of 400 South in Saratoga Springs should boil their water for at least one minute or use bottled water until the water is considered safe.

Subdivisions that are affected by the boil water order include: Harvest Hills, Aspen Hills, Sunrise Meadows, Dalmore Meadows, Summer Village, Sunset Haven, Sierra Estates, Riverbend, The Cove at the Jordan River, The Gables, Sergeant Court, Daybreak at Harvest Hills and Hillcrest Condominiums.

Boiling instructions distributed by the Utah County Health Department include:

1.     Water to be consumed should be brought to a rolling boil for one minute.

2.    Water used for bathing need not be boiled, however you should keep it out of your mouth. Avoid bathing small children.

3.    After washing your hands with tap water, use a hand sanitizer.

4.    Bottled water can be used safely.

5.    After the outbreak has cleared, you should replace and/or sterlize water filters in sinks, refrigerators, freezers/ice makers, etc.

6.    Symptoms include: Nausea, diarrhea (possibly bloody), stomach pains, sometimes fever.

7.    If you have questions about illness, especially if concerned about dehydration, please see your doctor.

8.    Be careful with changing diapers, etc. Wash hands thoroughly afterwards.

9.    If you are handwashing dishes, allow to dry thoroughly before using again.

Campylobacter jejuni

The illness caused by ingestion of Campylobacter bacteria is called campylobacteriosis.  Diarrhea is the most consistent and prominent manifestation of campylobacteriosis, and is often bloody.  Typical symptoms of Campylobacter infection also include fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, and muscle pain.  

Most Campylobacteriosis cases are mild, do not require hospitalization, and may be self-limited; however, Campylobacter jejuni infection can be severe and life-threatening.  

Children under the age of five and young adults aged 15-29 are the age groups most frequently affected.  The incubation period–the time between exposure to the bacterium and the onset of the first symptom–is typically two to five days.  The illness usually lasts no more than one week; however, severe cases may persist for up to three weeks, and roughly 25 percent of infected people experience symptom relapse.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

In Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a complication of Campylobacteriosis, the immune system starts to destroy the myelin sheath that surrounds the axons of many peripheral nerves, or even the axons themselves.  This inhibits the nerves’ ability to transmit signals efficiently.  

The first symptoms of GBS include varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensations in the legs. The weakness and abnormal sensations may spread to the arms and upper body. These symptoms can increase in intensity until certain muscles cannot be used at all and, when severe, the affected person is almost totally paralyzed.

There is no known cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). However, there are therapies that lessen the severity of the illness and accelerate the recovery in most people.

Read more about the treatment of Guillain-Barre Syndrome