Home Health Brixham outbreak: Entire seaside town probed after 'hundreds' fall ill with warning...

Brixham outbreak: Entire seaside town probed after 'hundreds' fall ill with warning issued

Brixham Harbour

Brixham locals have reported a selection of symptoms including severe diarrhoea (Image: DevonLive)

An alarming number of residents in a seaside town claim to be struck down by a suspected cryptosporidium outbreak. The UK Health Security Agency is currently investigating the situation as reports of symptoms such as severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps, and fever circulate online.

While the health scare grips Brixham, in Devon, South West Water has stepped forward to assure the public that their drinking water is safe, with all tests for cryptosporidium returning negative results.

Cryptosporidium, a parasite found in the intestines of humans and animals, can spread through contaminated water or food, leading to outbreaks.

A spokesperson for South West Water said: “We are aware of posts on social media regarding the quality of drinking water in the Brixham area and we would like to reassure customers that the water supply is fine to continue to use as normal. We have carried out sampling and tests for cryptosporidium and all results have come back clear,” reports Devon Live.

They added: “We always carefully monitor our drinking water supplies and we are supporting the UK Health Security Agency with their investigations.”

READ MORE: Urgent warning to parents after mystery illness outbreak leaves dozens dead

The exact number of cryptosporidium cases remains unconfirmed. However, the community Facebook page Brixham Fish Town is flooded with posts and comments from locals reporting symptoms.

Reports of illness in Paignton are also surfacing on Facebook. Many Brixham residents have told DevonLive about their prolonged illness and its negative impact on their lives. It appears that many cases are concentrated in Higher Brixham.

Tanya Matthews, a resident of Ocean View in Higher Brixham, claims every household in her street is experiencing the same symptoms. South West Water (SWW) conducted a water quality test at her home this morning, May 14, with results expected tomorrow.

Tanya, who has been battling stomach cramps and diarrhoea for the past nine days and is awaiting a cryptosporidium test, said: “I started having stomach cramps and explosive diarrhoea nine days ago and it has been the same every day since. I started to feel a little bit better yesterday then today [May 14] it hit me again.”

“I rang SWW yesterday [May 13] and I was told there had been 15 confirmed cases of cryptosporidium and that UKHSA are looking into it as they don’t believe it’s to do with the water.”

“They wouldn’t expect this many cases over a whole year for all of Devon and Cornwall so something is amiss. SWW asked if I had been in the sea or a river but I have not. I also think the water tastes funny and it has been leaving a horrid taste in my mouth.”

On May 13, Tanya took to Brixham Fish Town Facebook page to gauge how many others were affected. The post garnered over 1,000 comments with many reporting similar symptoms.

Tanya stated: “I posted about it to see how many other people may have/ had these symptoms without realising and thinking it’s just a tummy bug. I know some people have been to GP’s and been told they have food poisoning which most likely is not the case so have not been asked for a sample to have it tested.”

“When SWW came out today they told me they don’t think it’s the water. I don’t know how that’s possible when every house in our street has someone who is ill. So many people are sick in the area.”

“My husband has it too. My son is doing his GCSE’s and I’m worried about what happens if he gets poorly too.”

Another resident of Ocean Drive, Kayley Lewis, shared her family’s ordeal with symptoms associated with cryptosporidium.

She revealed: “My eldest son Jacob was the first one of us to be poorly. He ended up in hospital overnight with severe dehydration on May 5. I then started to feel unwell on May 6 and had awful stomach pains and watery diarrhoea lasting six days.”

“My other son Oscar is doing his SATS exams this week but I am having to drop him off just to sit his exam and then pick him up due to him still having diarrhoea and cramps. Both my boys have missed a lot of school due to it too.”

“My youngest daughter Daisy has only had stomach cramps. I took in my sample this morning to the doctors and they have said every sample is now going to a team that is investigating.”

A resident from Hillhead, Brixham, who wished to remain anonymous, shared her ordeal of being confined to bed for over a week after testing positive for cryptosporidium.

She recounted: “I’ve been bed-bound for eight days with sickness and diarrhoea and have been signed off work for two weeks and lost over a stone in weight. It’s the worst illness I’ve ever experienced.”

“I originally thought it was noravirus but as it went on for so long, I had to contact the doctors. I sent off a stool sample which came back as cryptosporidium which I had never heard off until I saw the post on Brixham Fish Town.”

“I phoned SWW who said it was the first they had heard of it even though everyone has been phoning. Public health have told me I’ll be getting a phone call from environmental health but we are still waiting.”

“It seems the majority of people affected are from Hillhead and Higher Brixham.”

Dean James, residing on Northfields Lane in Furzeham, reports that his family has been suffering from illness since last Saturday, May 11, with the situation now affecting their means of making a living.

He revealed: “It has not been a nice experience. We have had diarrhoea and vomiting, severe stomach cramps, high temperature and gunning a fever. My partner and I are both off work and have no sick pay; my partner has no sick pay for the first three days and I’m self-employed. All this when we are experiencing a high cost of living.”

“Some of my neighbours have become suddenly unwell. We have been told to ring public health and report cases and also to boil all water for drinking. Looking at Facebook, cases are now appearing all over Brixham and starting to appear in Paignton too.”

An anonymous resident of Brixham shared: “My whole family – myself, my partner and my two children – have been affected. We have had diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting for more than 10 days, as have many people on our street including several diagnosed cases of cryptosporidium.”

“It seems to be mainly affecting people in households in Higher Brixham. Whenever you phone SWW, they make out they’ve only had a ‘couple’ of reports about it which I know is false. I spoke to our GP at Mayfield Surgery who confirms they have had many cases and have reported it to the relevant authorities as it is so prevalent.”

Anthony Mangnall, MP for Totnes, which includes Brixham, informed DevonLive that he is aware of the recent illness outbreak among Brixham residents and is currently making enquiries.

In a post on his official Facebook page, the concerned individual raised the issue of Brixham drinking water quality. He wrote: “I have been made aware of current concerns regarding the quality of drinking water in Brixham and have been making enquiries. South West Water have reassured me that they are supporting the UK Health Security Agency with their investigations, and have stated that constituents can continue to use their water supply as normal.”

He continued, clarifying the situation: “SWW carefully monitors drinking water supplies, and cryptosporidium is monitored continuously in the final drinking water from the supplying treatment facility. To confirm, all recent test results for cryptosporidium have come back clear. I will provide further updates when possible.”

The UK Health Security Agency has yet to comment on this matter.

For those desiring immediate updates about Devon’s breaking news and crucial stories, consider signing up for our WhatsApp group by clicking here. As community members, you’ll get access to exclusive offers, promotions, and advertisements from us and our partners.

If you decide our community isn’t for you, no worry; you’re free to leave at any time. You can peruse our Privacy Notice if curious.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here