Sudbury

North Bay sees rise in 'beaver fever' cases

The North Bay Health Unit is seeing an increase in cases of giardiasis, after six cases of the parasite-related illness were confirmed this fall.

The North Bay Health Unit is seeing an increase in cases of giardiasis, after six cases of the parasite-related illness were confirmed this fall.

Sometimes known as “Beaver Fever,” giardiasis is typically caused by drinking untreated lake water.

The North Bay Health Unit says symptoms of giardiasis include digestive problems, such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps and dehydration. (istock)

Usually in the fall, one or two cases are reported to the health unit, said the program manager of environmental health.

But Michael Duncan reported six cases have so far been confirmed.

No particular waterway is causing the illness, but “anyone … consuming potentially untreated water from a surface water source, like a lake river or stream" can potentially become infected by the parasite that causes it, he said.

Duncan said symptoms of the illness include digestive problems, such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps and dehydration.

The illness can be avoided if lake water is boiled for at least a minute before drinking.

Water treatment systems can also help people avoid illness.

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