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Should They Do More About H. Pylori?

Posted April 27, 2011 8:30 AM by Steve Melito

"We are not dealing with any failure of local water supply facilities," writes Dr. Sidney W. Rosen, a retired gastroenterologist from Fall River, Massachusetts. "They are doing as dictated by regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency". In other words, communities aren't doing much of anything to protect people against Helicobacter pylori, a waterborne bacterium that Dr. Rosen blames for "a largely overlooked epidemic that has engulfed the entire world."

Heliobacter pylori (h. pylori) resides in the intestines of waterfowl, whose droppings are found in local water supplies. In 1985, two doctors from Australia were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for demonstrating how to culture h. pylori (or HP, as it's sometimes called) and discovering a link between the bacteria and human disease. Today, doctors know that HP causes gastritis, peptic ulcers, and two forms of stomach cancer. Some clinicians also blame HP infections for causing Alzheimer's disease, pancreatic cancer, and cancer of the bile ducts.

Although doctors can test for h. pylori infections via blood and breathing tests, the EPA states that there is no test for finding HP in local water supplies. Until such a test becomes available, probably in several years, the EPA will be unable to provide further direction to municipalities. Considering the health risks, should the EPA follow Dr. Rosen's advice and do more to protect the public against h. pylori today?

Source: The Herald News

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#1

Re: Should They Do More About H. Pylori?

04/27/2011 9:46 PM

What advice? I didn't see any suggestions on measures to take, nor how to evaluate them if the bacterium is undetectable. Chlorinate the water supply so heavily as to make it taste icky, and maybe introduce other bad health effects?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Should They Do More About H. Pylori?

04/28/2011 12:42 AM

Ozone is actually a lot more effective against most bacteria than chlorine...but it has no residual life, so it is only good as a primary treatment. However, using it in conjunction with chlorine can be most effective for controlling all sorts of nasties (many of which are far nastier than h. pylori, and far more common), without producing carcinogenic byproducts like chlorine does, or ruining the taste of your drinking water.

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#3

Re: Should They Do More About H. Pylori?

04/28/2011 9:10 AM

Interesting. I am now retired but H. pylori was not a major concern a decade or so ago. I was searching for CT values (That is the concentration of disinfectant in mg/L times the minutes of contact) for effective elimination of H. pylori in drinking water. There dose not seem to be the related study readily found in my net surfing. However, a similar micro-oganism requires a very large CT value with chlorine. Whereas, ozone was more effective and seemed to require less CT (I cannot yet confirm these numbers). UV disinfection seems very good at achieving 3 log removal at relatively low flux (~50mJ/cm). Neither ozone or UV are sufficient to allow disinfection past the point of use. Ozone may have a small advantage but it is not stable for use in water mains. I would also think that most chemically assisted filtration plants would be capable of removal but it may not meet the 3 log removal required. Reverse osmosis or perhaps even ultra filtration may be an option. Either way, there ought to be some barrier before the users.

Should the EPA be concerned about this emerging microorganism. The short answer is yes. It sounds similar to giardia and its related disease giardiasis. Chlorine was found to exacerbate giardia but both ozone and UV were effective. City of Milwalkee had a major breakout of giardiasis about 10 or 15 years ago. That incident created a stir and of course lots of research. The emergence of H. pylori is another concern and seeing as how it is classed a number 1 carcinogen, the EPA and WHO and Canada Health all need to be studying and making recommendations soon. GA to CWarner for suggesting ozone.

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#4

Re: Should They Do More About H. Pylori?

04/28/2011 11:37 AM

A quick google search shows that there is ongoing research into bacteriophages that kill h. pylori. This might be the tastiest and cleanest approach.

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#5

Re: Should They Do More About H. Pylori?

04/28/2011 9:09 PM

I understand that bugs are generally bad for us, especially taken internally. That's why I wash my hands before eating (usually, anyway).

But, let's face it. There's ALWAYS going to be something that wants to make our lives miserable.

Spooky

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#6

Re: Should They Do More About H. Pylori?

04/29/2011 7:22 AM

With an estimated 50% of the world's population infected, and the fact that it is harmless to many people and has negative effects on others, I think they should be working to figure out why that is.

Once they have that answered, it would be easier to treat/immunize people, (I think), than to eradicate it from all water supplies.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/h-pylori/DS00958

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#7

Re: Should They Do More About H. Pylori?

05/07/2011 10:57 PM

My question is, What shape would our health be in, if we lived in a sterilized world? Would our immune system be able to fight off the common cold, or influenza? How far our we going to go to kill our immune system? And what is an over kill to achieve a sterilized world?

We have to introduce weaken or dead "bugs" into our bodies to activate our immune system. I can almost guarantee that Helicobacter pylori, has been in the water supply from day one or s long as water fowl has been around. Is this something new? I doubt that it is.

Is this a scare tactic? Could be. Or could this be another way of obtaining more grant monies for Doctors who's titles takes up a half a sentence to write it out? Could be.

I have a bother in-law that is a Pharmacist and strongly feels that we are causing our own health problems, to many antibiotics, hand sanitizers and all the other "crap" on the market, to sterilize our world. Does he wash his hands all the time? Only when the Health Dept. and EPA tells him to do so.

Thats my 2ยข on the subject. DJ

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Re: Should They Do More About H. Pylori?

05/08/2011 5:25 PM

DJ, I understand where you are coming from but I could not disagree more. We have been in constant battle with microbial contamination for a long time. Each time we make a small step forward to lessen our exposure to pathogens, that should be considered a victory of sorts. We will never eliminate bacteria and we should not even try to eliminate them. To improve our health system by exposing ourselves to pathogens is dangerous to say the least. Yes most of us would likely survive such exposure and those that survived would have a better immune system. But there are so many people with compromised immune systems we would be careless if we knew the of the potential problem but chose to ignore it. We can place the very young, very old, those on chemo therapy, those who are already sick, and just those who may be healthy but react to such exposure anyway.

You can look back in the recent history of water treatment to see the payback in treating water. Cholera, typhus, and even polio that once scourged mankind are almost eliminated in western and advanced countries that practice safe water treatment. None of the pathogens are eliminated from nature and I would suggest if we did get exposed it would be extremely risky. Polio is highly contained by mass population vaccinations but can be isolated in a lot of river and lake sediments today. These pathogens are not eliminated.

Giardia and cryptosporidium are recent exposures that were recognized and given priority in treatment. And yes, in areas where there is no treatment, the survivors usually have an elevated resistance to the symptoms or resultant diseases.

The latest revelation is just another one of these nails, recently identified as a cause of ulcers and also a class 1 cancer agent. It would be a serious mistake to think we will improve all human immune systems through Darwinian progress. I suggest it should be imperative to minimize exposure to eliminate the suffering today. If we know about the potential of H. pyroli in water supplies and it is deemed reasonable to treat, then we ought to be treating it. As with the cryptosporidium mandate for treatment, the same should apply to H. pyroli.

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#9
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Re: Should They Do More About H. Pylori?

05/08/2011 6:15 PM

"Giardia and cryptosporidium are recent exposures that were recognized and given priority in treatment. And yes, in areas where there is no treatment, the survivors usually have an elevated resistance to the symptoms or resultant diseases."

This is exactly my point. I am more concerned with disposing of PBA's in our food supply and building "safer" Nuclear Power Plants. Money can be put to better use. We will probably never end the war with the "Bugs". And that's what evolution is all about isn't?

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