Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Walkerton Tragedy: 10 years of water contamination research leads to breakthrough

Date:
January 27, 2010
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Studies of the victims of the Walkerton, Ont. tainted drinking water tragedy have led researchers to discover DNA variations in genes that increase the risk of developing post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome. The sheer scale of infection and the recording of the health of Walkerton's citizens gave a team of researchers a unique opportunity to study the origin of this disorder.

Studies of the victims of the Walkerton, Ont. tainted drinking water tragedy have led researchers to discover DNA variations in genes that increase the risk of developing post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS). The sheer scale of infection and the recording of the health of Walkerton's citizens gave a team of researchers a unique opportunity to study the origin of this disorder.

"Although the exact cause of PI-IBS remains unknown, we now know for the first time that, in addition to the environmental trigger, genetic factors are also playing a critical role in the development of this disease," explains McGill PhD Alexandra-Chloι Villani, who led the team under the direction of principal investigators John K. Marshall (McMaster) and Denis Franchimont (formerly of McGill). Stephen Collins (McMaster) also collaborated.

Almost 10 years ago, the municipal water supply of Walkerton was contaminated with E. coli and Campylobacter jejuni, leading to a public health disaster. Seven people died and 2,300 suffered symptoms, including bloody diarrhea. Of these 2,300, 36 per cent developed PI-IBS, giving the town the highest incidence of PI-IBS ever reported.

PI-IBS is a functional bowel disorder that has an acute onset after an episode of gastroenteritis. "These patients suffer from chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating and disturbed defecation in the absence of any detectable structural or biochemical abnormalities," said Marshall, a gastroenterologist. "After the exclusion of known organic disorders, like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, such patients are diagnosed with PI-IBS."

"The biological implications of the identified genetic risk factors emphasize the important roles of the gut microbial flora, intestinal barrier function and inflammatory pathways in contributing to the onset of PI-IBS," Villani explained. Though these results will not lead to any new short-term treatments for PI-IBS, Marshall is confident that in the longer term the research will lead to better patient care, including potentially novel therapeutic targets for research, as well as improved medical decision-making ("risk stratification") concerning victims of future outbreaks.

The details of the study will be published in the March edition journal Gastroenterology. The study was supported by the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Walkerton Tragedy: 10 years of water contamination research leads to breakthrough." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127121528.htm>.
McGill University. (2010, January 27). Walkerton Tragedy: 10 years of water contamination research leads to breakthrough. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127121528.htm
McGill University. "Walkerton Tragedy: 10 years of water contamination research leads to breakthrough." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127121528.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins