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#158269 - 12/04/11 08:00 PM salmonella or e. coli
twinmike Offline
member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Holbrook, AZ.
Everone talks about it but where are the numbers as, how many people get sick from lakes ans streams
_________________________
Many reach for distant shores only to run to the safest harbor.

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#158273 - 12/04/11 09:17 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: twinmike]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
My opinion is that at least some get sick from poor toilet practices rather than water.
One reason why I don't share (open) food on the trail
Franco

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#158275 - 12/04/11 09:29 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: Franco]
twinmike Offline
member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Holbrook, AZ.
my last long hike was five days, I used a msr filter but the handle broke, I went to rei to get a replacement part but was told you can not buy just the brokenparts. So on short hikes I am now using iodine tabs. But google does not return any info on microorganisms from any specfic areas. example my hiking is done where lots of wildlife elk, cattle and coyote, racoons etc.
_________________________
Many reach for distant shores only to run to the safest harbor.

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#158276 - 12/04/11 09:46 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: Franco]
twinmike Offline
member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Holbrook, AZ.
hello franco, I just noticed your address, perhaps some of the names i mention may not be available where you live, my hiking areas we have places we call -tanks- which are natural springs sometimes man-made to supply cattle with water in the high country of 2100 meters, of course the wild life use them also, twinmike
_________________________
Many reach for distant shores only to run to the safest harbor.

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#158279 - 12/04/11 11:00 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: twinmike]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
Ah , yes, got that from the other thread.
we can have the same problem here during draught periods.
Last year we had plenty of rain and the same this year, so far , so water is flowing.
Years past I used a Pur (now Katadyn) Hiker filter. I rinsed that every so often with household bleach (unscented...) .
I usually have with me chlorine dioxide tablets , but I would filter (via bandanna or something) stagnant water before using tablets.
Franco

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#158378 - 12/07/11 01:52 AM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: twinmike]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
You are asking an impossible question. I suspect that the majority of people who pick up infections from backcountry water sources never correlate the illness or never get sick at all... it's estimated 50% of the folks who have been exposed to giardia never develop symptoms.

I for one will not play roulette with my health, because I personally have spoken to well over a dozen people now who have had confirmed giardia cases with some pretty nasty symptoms. One guy's dog nearly died of it. All have been in California, as that's where I hike.

You can be sure that sources in areas heavily trampled by livestock (whether grazing cattle or pack stock) are a high risk for contaminated water sources.

Iodine is a pretty poor method of treatment - it's not at all effective against crypto and does only moderately well against giardia.

There have been some studies in national parks here in California (now somewhat dated) that verify the presence of e coli in the more heavily used areas. Merced and Tuolumne Rivers were among them. You can google terms liked water, bacteria, yosemite, mountains... it won't give you the numbers you are looking for.

You also need to be aware of mining activity or other industrial activity upstream of where you are going. The filters and purifiers do nothing against chemical or mineral contaminants. Some springs in some areas have heavy mineral loads that will give you bad gastrointestinal issues if you drink them....

Salmonella, btw, is not one of the likely infections you'll find in water sources.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#158474 - 12/08/11 05:36 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: lori]
twinmike Offline
member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Holbrook, AZ.
Couple of weekends ago I stayed in the Painted Desert to photograph the Pronghorn, you need a permit to stay overnight there and the ranger asked if I had water treatment or was carrying water, which I thought was odd because there is no available water that I know of there, so I asked about possible water borne diseases in the area and I was told none known but it was just a precautionary question of anyone staying overnite. Not sure but I would think that minerals in the water might be more of a threat here in the desert high country, like arsenic. I don't know if they work well but I ordered some filter drinking straws for the next trip.
Here is where I checked for info, http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/, there have been 32 deaths reported in the past year of the 60 some reported cases, so I was concerned
_________________________
Many reach for distant shores only to run to the safest harbor.

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#158486 - 12/08/11 07:13 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: twinmike]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
You can't filter out arsenic or any other chemical.

The ranger is wrong if he thought so... it would take distillation, a process that is not possible while backpacking.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#158501 - 12/08/11 09:29 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: twinmike]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I have spent a fair amount of time in northern Arizona and while it is true that the water can be highly mineralized, I don't believe you have to worry about arsenic or anything else that toxic. I drank the local stuff for about fifteen years consistently and one and off ever since.

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#158548 - 12/09/11 04:47 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: lori]
twinmike Offline
member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Holbrook, AZ.
sorry lori I did not explain the whole story, my fault there as I cut the story short. In western deserts, even the dust in the air contains some arsenic but for hiking and camping most comes from pools of water that evaporate. and yes arsenic in both forms can be removed but its expensive and the RO equipment is very heavy to tote around. Its also a maintenance nightmare to use, but the water is absolutely pure. While travelling in lower Mexico two years ago we used a Katadyne 06. I just got an answer from questions board to CDC and both diseases are very rare in U.S. The Kat-06 will even filter ocean sea water. www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/household_water_treatment.html , but of course it never hurts to be safe
_________________________
Many reach for distant shores only to run to the safest harbor.

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#158549 - 12/09/11 08:18 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: twinmike]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I guess "absolutely pure" is relative. The CDC article you link to doesn't make that claim for reverse osmosis. Says that it "may reduce" arsenic, fluoride, etc.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#158578 - 12/10/11 10:06 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: lori]
twinmike Offline
member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 43
Loc: Holbrook, AZ.
Don't know what to tell you , I just pulled it up and it even explains how to use iodine crystals to purify water after you have done some filtering. RO being the best methods other than distilled.
_________________________
Many reach for distant shores only to run to the safest harbor.

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#158615 - 12/12/11 10:15 AM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: twinmike]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
CDC suggests that iodine is not as good as chlorine dioxide for a number of reasons, including the dangerousness of long term use of it (people can become very, very allergic to iodine to the point that they can't have a pinch of table salt in food) and the ineffectiveness against crypto and giardia.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#158623 - 12/12/11 01:43 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: lori]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I am one of those who can't tolerate iodine in even the most minute quantities, thanks to about a month of using iodine to disinfect water (only on weekends) back in the 1980's. It makes things really awkward socially; if I'm invited out to dinner I have to ask my host to give me unsalted food or to buy a container of non-iodized salt for all their cooking. For example, I have to turn down the family Thanksgiving dinner with my son#3 and his family because it's potluck and I can't ask half a dozen of his wife's relatives to cook with non-iodized salt just for the occasion! At restaurants (most of which do use iodized salt) I have to stick with salad or something like steak cooked without salt. It also means I can't eat any seafood or anything that has been in the ocean, not even salmon which I love. Finally, it means I have to spend a lot of time and assertiveness with the medical establishment to make sure nobody sneaks up on me with betadyne. Fortunately, there are recent new non-iodine dyes that can be used for angiograms. Until the last few years, if I had needed one, I would have just had to drop dead!

The rash I got from using iodine in the water (and still get if I lapse from the above restrictions) consisted of deep lesions (lichen planus) which itched like crazy, took months to heal and left permanent scars.

Iodine for water disinfection is contraindicated for pregnant women, children and anyone with thyroid problems per the Centers for Disease Control. That should be a warning to the rest of us. It's also (per the CDC) not very effective, especially on protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium. There are much more effective chemicals (especially chlorine dioxide) that do far less harm. Please, please, don't use iodine!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#158624 - 12/12/11 01:50 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: twinmike]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
Find the true statements:

*All backcountry water is contaminated.
*No backcountry water is contaminated.
*Every exposure to contaminated water results in illness.
*Repeated exposure to contaminated water is not a health threat.
*It is possible to eliminate the health threats from all types of contamination.
*It is impossible to address water contamination.

Selecting, collecting and consuming backcountry water is an exercise in risk management, repeated each time we gather water. Minimize the risk and your chances of becoming sick will likewise be low. To acknowledge that you can never achieve zero risk seems like a good place to start.

Prost,
_________________________
--Rick

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#158628 - 12/12/11 02:19 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: OregonMouse]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
When I read threads like this, I just shake my head, turn on the stove, and bring the pot to a boil. I need to carry a bit more fuel, but boiling takes care of all the pathogens. I am beginning to suspect that it isn't really necessary to bring the water to a boil (milk is pasteurized at 165 degrees F). I also don't bother at all if I am isolated and well enough upstream. Boiling works for me because the highest and best use of water is to prepare a nice cup of tea.....

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#158629 - 12/12/11 02:21 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: oldranger]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By oldranger
When I read threads like this, I just shake my head, turn on the stove, and bring the pot to a boil. I need to carry a bit more fuel, but boiling takes care of all the pathogens. I am beginning to suspect that it isn't really necessary to bring the water to a boil (milk is pasteurized at 165 degrees F). I also don't bother at all if I am isolated and well enough upstream. Boiling works for me because the highest and best use of water is to prepare a nice cup of tea.....


Carrying enough fuel to ensure that I have two liters of hot water to drink on a hot day doesn't sound very efficient or pleasant to me. YMMV.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#158632 - 12/12/11 02:34 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: lori]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Not a problem. I encountered just this situation bike touring in the Black Hills. I sat down, boiled water,poured it into a bottle, placed the bottle back in the stream, where it cooled while I boiled another pot, etc. until in about twenty minutes I had something like two liters of cool water. Of course, about two miles down the trail I encountered an approved source.

If I am really dehydrated hot, water of any temperature works, although cool is better.

It is a good idea to have alternatives (think Aqua Pure), but boiling is simple and effective, allowing me to apply my brain power to other problems

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#158640 - 12/12/11 04:26 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: oldranger]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Simple, effective, and slow. Something to keep in mind when hiking with a group - especially a SAR team who will not wait for you to boil and cool water.

It's also a total pain to boil water and try to get it into a hydration bladder that doesn't have a wide top opening.

_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#158649 - 12/12/11 07:43 PM Re: salmonella or e. coli [Re: lori]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
One more reason why I stick to plain old canteens instead of "hydration systems" - they are just too fiddly. Most of my canteens have fairly wide orifices, along with water tight caps just for that reason.

Most of my SAR experience has been in southern Arizona, centered around Tucson. As one of my colleagues put it, in the summer, your call out pack simply becomes "a giant water bottle" along with some first aid gear. If we needed water, we took whatever time it required. This was often collecting water from small seeps and drips, sometimes in circumstances where we did not need to be concerned with water purification measures. I sometimes carry a Katadyn Hiker filter if speed is of the essence. I note that most chemical treatments require about 30 minutes or so before becoming effective, a time that is about equal to the time required for boiling, assuming a decent stove.

Again I really like boiling if you must be serious about purifying water. You can boil water in widely varying circumstances, with many kinds of simple gear, and it is definitive and more fool proof that other techniques.

The worst water I ever dealt with was stream water from Canyon del Muerto, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. High water levels after an extremely wet winter halted vehicle access for the first half of our field season, so we hiked to our dig from the top of the canyon. Canyon del Muerto holds a population of around two hundred or so inhabitants, plus several hundred sheep. The only toilet facilities I knew of in the canyon were at the ruin we were excavating, so we treated the water. The first step was to let it settle overnight to deal with suspended sediment. Then it was boiled. We used that water for about four weeks until we could resume driving in the canyon. No problems at all with Montezuma's Revenge.

As always, you need different options for varying circumstances, but it fairly critical that your treatment be effective for the water you are consuming.


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