Britons warned to boil water on concern over parasite contamination in Devon areas

By Thomson Reuters May 15, 2024 | 9:46 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – Residents in part of Devon in southwestern England were warned on Wednesday to boil water before consuming it after the region’s water utility found traces of an intestinal parasite that can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.

South West Water issued the notice to its customers in Alston and the Hillhead area of Brixham, and said it was urgently investigating the source of the contamination.


Regular dumping of raw sewage in rivers and seas has sparked anger in Britain, with privatised water companies accused of failing to invest in infrastructure and of routinely dumping sewage in waterways.


The lawmaker for the area said health, water and local authorities were investigating 16 confirmed cases among residents of sickness involving the cryptosporidium parasite, and around 70 further reported cases of diarrhoea and vomiting.

The areas affected have a combined population of around 26,000.


Cryptosporidium can cause diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea or vomiting, low-grade fever and loss of appetite.

The organism can be found in the intestines and faeces of infected humans and animals and may contaminate lakes, streams and rivers, swimming pools, untreated or poorly treated water, and food, according to the National Health Service (NHS) website.

(Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Bernadette Baum)