Families and businesses across Lancashire are on alert after a parasite discovered in the water supply sparked a health warning.
United Utilities urged residents to boil their drinking water after traces of the bug cryptosporidium – a microscopic parasite which can cause stomach cramps and diarrhoea - was found at Franklaw Water treatment plant in Catterall, near Garstang yesterday.
Last night, supermarket shelves were being cleared of bottled water following the find.
One staff member at Asda in Fulwood said he’d never seen the shelves so empty as customers rushed to fill up.
Shopper Lynda Garburr, 46, from in Catterall, had a trolley loaded to the brim with bottled water for the children at a holiday club she runs at Harris Primary School in Fulwood.
She said: “The children have to be safe, that is why we are buying all this water,
“I’ve noticed quite a few people unpacking loads of water from trolleys into cars outside.”
Leona Worth, 45, Fulwood, Preston, said: “I am very concerned I have two young children. I have only just heard about it on the news. I am panicking because I have been drinking water all day.
“I’ve never heard of this before. I’m a concerned parent.”
Carly Whittam, from Woodplumpton, said: “I have been off sick with a virus. I have been in bed all week. I’m concerned that this the water is what has caused it because I’ve been feeling worse again today.
I have been off sick with a virus. I have been in bed all week. I’m concerned that this the water is what has caused it because I’ve been feeling worse again today.Carly Whittam
“We won’t be letting the kids drink water.”
Low traces of the bug was discovered during routine tests at the water treatment plant and the water company is now running further tests.
Manager of Duk-Pond restaurant in Cross Street, Preston, Andrea Mellon said the fact the Lancashire Evening Post had to inform her about the health warning was ‘scary’.
She said: “It could have serious implications for a lot of businesses if they do not know about it. We have put notices all around the building, I hope people have used the same safety procedures to ensure customer safety. Nobody wants to be sick.”
People can continue to use tap water without boiling for general domestic purposes such as bathing, flushing toilets or washing clothes.
A care home manager from Kirkham who did not wish to be named said she was boiling four pans of water to ensure all of the elderly residents could brush their teeth safely.
People at most risk for infection are young children, animal handlers, travellers and close contacts of infected people like family members and day care workers.
When the story broke yesterday afternoon hundreds of people posted comments online.
Reader Dave Ashton criticised the slow release of information and claimed that some people were warned before others.
Customers with concerns can contact 03456 723 723. The latest updates will be available at unitedutilities.com and on Twitter @unitedutilities
For more on the water contamination in Lancashire visit the links below: