A Special Message from MAWC for People With Severely Weakened Immune Systems
People that have any of the following medical conditions, and those who care for them, should pay particular attention to this information:
- Cancer and are receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment
- Kidney, heart, bone marrow or other organ transplant recipients
- Severely weakened immune systems due to other causes
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. The Environmental Protection Agency and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on appropriate means to lessen risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.
What is Cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium (krip-toe-spo-rid-ee-um), often referred to as "crypto," is a microscopic parasite that can live in the intestines of humans and animals. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very resistant to widely used, and otherwise effective, water treatment processes. Cryptosporidium can cause a gastrointestinal disease called cryptosporidiosis. However, a well-operated water treatment plant can remove 99.9% of cryptosporidium.
Where does cryptosporidium come from?
Cryptosporidium is found in the fecal matter of affected humans and animals. Cryptosporidium can be conveyed to lakes, rivers, and streams that serve as drinking water sources via storm water runoff and/or direct discharges. Also, cryptosporidium can be present in underground water supplies that are recharged with contaminated waters.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid contact with the fecal matter of pets and other animals.
- Not swallowing water while swimming in lakes, rivers, and pools or when using a hot tub.
- Washing and/or cooking food.
- Practicing safe sex.
If you are severely immuno-compromised, you can achieve additional protection by:
- Boiling tap water.
- Filtering tap water using a device proven to remove cryptosporidium.
- Purchasing bottled water that is specifically treated to be free of cryptosporidium. Not all bottled water is safe.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CRYPTOSPORIDIUM IN WATER, PLEASE CONTACT:
- Your doctor or other health care provider
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online or at (800) 342-2437
- United States Environmental Protection Agency's Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791
- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection online or at (412) 442-4000
If you have any questions about these reports or concerning your water utility, please contact the Customer Service Department at 724-755-5800.
We want our valued customers to be informed about their water utility. Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County routinely monitors for contaminants in your drinking water according to Federal and State laws.