Idaho city's water mystery: 9 sickened, restaurants scrambling

Idaho city's water mystery: 9 sickened, restaurants scrambling

Credit: Scott Evans / KTVB

A sign in the window of a Baker City restaurant says "Closed due to water supply."

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by KTVB.COM & Associated Press

KREM.com

Posted on August 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM

BAKER CITY, Ore. -- Nine residents of an eastern Oregon city are believed to have been sickened by the dangerous waterborne parasite cryptosporidium, which causes severe diarrhea.

While there's no confirmation that the cryptosporidium entered the main water supply, Baker City leaders are taking precautions.

They're urging residents to boil the water before drinking it. That means boiling it for one full minute -- before making ice, washing dishes, or any other uses.

Baker City Public Works and the county health department believe most cases of the sickness happened between July 12 and July 26.

Now health officials are working with the state's division to decide if a 10,000-acre watershed is the source of contamination.

City officials suspect the source of the parasite is a lake where a large population of mountain goats live. The parasite is usually found in animal feces. The city has stopped drawing water from Goodrich Lake, which is high in the Elkhorn Mountain range.

The city plans to flush the entire water system in the next couple of days and the municipal pool is closed to be drained and cleaned.

The city has asked residents to conserve their use of the city's other water supply, from a well.

In the meantime, the majority of restaurants in town are shut down or affected in some way, and we're working to bring you more details.

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