Aragón Zaragoza: the Tarazona gastroenteritis outbreak now registers 444 cases

The number of cases due to the gastroenteritis outbreak detected 13 days ago in the Zaragoza town of Tarazona now rises to 444, as reported this Saturday by the Government of Aragon

Aragón Zaragoza: the Tarazona gastroenteritis outbreak now registers 444 cases

The number of cases due to the gastroenteritis outbreak detected 13 days ago in the Zaragoza town of Tarazona now rises to 444, as reported this Saturday by the Government of Aragon.

Once it has been confirmed that the causative agent of the outbreak, a protozoan of the genus Cryptosporidium, is found in the Queiles River, prevention measures, such as prohibiting drinking tap water, have been extended to the towns of Novallas, Torrellas and The Fayos.

Likewise, the neighboring communities of Navarra and Castilla y León, through which the aforementioned river also flows, have been alerted, and contact is maintained with the health authorities to coordinate actions.

The Minister of Health of Aragon, José Luis Bancalero, contacted his counterpart in Castilla y León this Friday "to also investigate upstream of the Aragonese territory."

Likewise, Navarra has been alerted, since there are towns on the riverbank that have water intakes from the Queiles.

The Qyueiles River, a tributary of the Ebro, rises in the Soria town of Vozmediano and, after passing through Ágreda, enters the province of Zaragoza and runs through Los Fayos, Torrellas, Tarazona, Novallas and Malón, and then crosses the Navarrese municipalities of Monteagudo, Tulebras, Cascante, Murchante and Tudela, where it flows into the Ebro.

Most of the cases of gastroenteritis have occurred in Tarazona, but six have also been recorded in Novallas, a town that, like Los Fayos and Torrellas, is also supplied by the Queiles River.

Concern is increasing, which is why a coordination meeting has been convened in Tarazona for this coming Monday between all public administration agents involved in managing the outbreak.

According to sources from the Aragonese Government, "the objective of the meeting is to share information among everyone, design and activate more measures that are considered necessary."

The meeting will be held at the Tarazona City Hall, and will be attended by the Minister of Health of the Government of Aragon, José Luis Bancalero Flores, the mayor of Tarazona, Antonio Jaray, and the general director of Public Health, Nuria Gayán.

There will also be the director of the Aragonese Water Institute, Luis Estaún, the technical advisor of the general directorate of Quality and Food Safety of the Department of Agriculture of the Government of Aragon, Enrique Novales, the Water Commissioner of the Ebro Hydrographic Confederation, Carlos Arrazola , and a representation of the Civil Guard.

Meanwhile, the distribution of bottled water among affected residents continues and the Tarazona City Council has distributed around 45,000 liters of water in six-liter bottles among its residents.

The distribution takes place at the fairgrounds and the neighborhood associations of the six neighborhoods of the municipality, as reported by the City Council in an official statement.

In addition, 1,000 liters of bottled water have been supplied to four schools in the area and the municipal nursery school, which have a school cafeteria. Likewise, Red Cross volunteers have brought 600 liters of water to vulnerable neighbors.

Fifty brotherhoods, senior centers and Cáritas have collaborated in the distribution tasks, morning and afternoon, according to municipal sources.

The mayor of Tarazona, Antonio Jaray, explained that these are measures to "relieve the economic burden of families" and has once again asked for "understanding and patience" from the neighbors.

The life cycle of the protozoan of the Cryptosporidium genus, which causes the gastroenteritis outbreak, lasts two days and begins when it is ingested.

In the intestine it releases sporozoites that penetrate its cells and, very exceptionally, those of the respiratory system.

As explained by the Ministry of Health on its website, transmission occurs mainly through the ingestion of water or raw foods contaminated with oocysts, such as unpasteurized milk or cider, oysters, fruits and vegetables.

Transmission can also occur by touching contaminated surfaces or through the fecal-oral route, since the main source of transmission is the patient's feces.

It usually affects younger children and the immunosuppressed, and also causes cases of nosocomial disease, infections acquired during a stay in a hospital.

In countries with a tropical climate, it is more common in warm and humid months, while in countries with a temperate climate, such as Spain, it is recurrent in autumn and winter.

The protozoan that causes the infection is very resistant and difficult to eliminate with the usual decontamination methods.

For this reason, companies and researchers in Madrid, Valencia and different analysis centers, as well as the University of Zaragoza, have been contacted to receive advice on how to act.