Drinking water is often contaminated with germs

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Health authorities found that drinking water is often contaminated with dangerous germs

The drinking water from the tap is often contaminated with germs, as a nationwide study by the health authorities found. The water from the pipeline was examined primarily in public buildings such as Bundeswehr barracks, day care centers, hospitals and other publicly accessible facilities.

Until now, drinking water in Germany was considered to be very clean. But according to studies by the health authorities, a different picture is emerging. As the newspaper "Neue Ruhr / Neue Rhein Zeitung" from Essen reports, the drinking water is often contaminated with disease-causing bacteria. Around 20,000 samples were taken from water samples taken between 2003 and 2009. The scientists found pathogens such as legionella and "pseudomonas" and other bacteria. These pathogens can cause diseases such as pneumonia, inflammation of the urinary tract and infections caused by burns. Chronic patients and toddlers in particular are particularly at risk because their immune systems are not sufficiently developed.

According to the newspaper report, the researchers found Legionella bacteria in 2908 of the 22,786 water samples. So-called "pseudomonas" germs were detected in 102 of 3468 samples. These are responsible, among other things, for cystitis, pneumonia and infections caused by burns. Drinking water containing legionella does not pose any particular health risk for people with a healthy and normal immune system However, people who are elderly, chronically ill or whose immune system is not yet fully developed are at risk, and the last group includes children and infants.

The water samples were taken by health authorities across Germany. The entire evaluation was then carried out by the University of Essen. Prof. Hans-Curt Flemming, who was involved in the evaluation, criticized that the health authorities as a whole were understaffed. For this reason, the control density is not appropriate, the criticism. In total, offices in around 40,000 public buildings have to check the water quality. The largest outbreak of a legionella epidemic in Germany occurred in early January 2010 in the Ulm area. A total of 5 people died as a result of the infection, 64 people were infected. An old home remedy can protect against Legionella infection. If the water is heated to at least 70 degrees, the bacetria die. (sb, 28.09.2010)

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