Sewage Spill Hazards

Pathogens commonly found in category 3 water damage are in a liquid state. The primary biohazard present in a sewage spill are viruses, bacteria and parasites.

Viruses: Primary Sewage Biohazard

Viruses do not reproduce, instead they multiply via a process called replication. After attaching to a host cell, the virus then injects the cell with a genetic material known as Ribonucleic acid (RNA). Within the cell walls the virus replicates, exhausting the cells resources and generating abundant copies of itself. The colony ultimately causes the cell to perish and rupture, releasing the viral progeny to attack healthy cells. The primary route of viral infection from a sewage spill is ingestion.

Common Viruses Found in Sewage

Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea in infants and children worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before the development of a vaccine, most children in the United States had at least one bout with rotavirus by age 5. Although rotavirus infections are unpleasant, you can treat most of them at home with extra fluids to prevent dehydration. Occasionally, severe dehydration requires intravenous fluids in the hospital.

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces or stool of an infected person.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). For some people, hepatitis B infection becomes chronic, meaning it lasts more than six months. Having chronic hepatitis B increases your risk of developing liver failure, liver cancer or cirrhosis, a condition that causes permanent scarring of the liver.

An extremely hardy virus, adenovirus is ubiquitous in human and animal populations. It is transmitted via direct inoculation to the conjunctiva, a fecal-oral route, aerosolized droplets, or exposure to infected tissue or blood. Adenovirus can survive long periods outside a host, and is endemic throughout the year.

G.I. Virus
Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever. The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water.

Bacteria: Primary Sewage Biohazard

Bacteria are single celled organisms, which exist in greater abundance than plants and animals combined. Occurring in both indoor and outdoor environments, bacteria are abundant in air, water and soil. They existing in and on animals as well as on plant surfaces. Human beings are overwhelmingly responsible for bacteria within the domicile, as they are continually shed from our skin and expelled through our respiratory systems. Bacteria play an important role in agriculture and foods, but can also cause serious health problems.

Byproducts of Bacteria

Proteins produced within bacteria that are excreted into the external environment.

Complex carbohydrates and proteins that are present in the cell wall of bacteria. Minute amounts of endotoxins can have toxic effects if they become airborne and are inhaled.

Dormant structures that require a host to activate. Once activated, endospores are difficult to dispatch.

Bacteria produce microbial volatile organic compounds as a waste byproduct much like fungi.

Common Sewage Spill Bacteria

Gram negative bacteria are the most prevalent pathogen associated with category 3 water damage, the most common strains of gram negative bacteria associated with sewage spill include E. coli, Pseudomonas, Salmonella and Shigella

Escherichia coli
Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of people and animals. Most E. coli are harmless and actually are an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract. However, some E. coli are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness, either diarrhea or illness outside of the intestinal tract. The types of E. coli that can cause diarrhea can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons.

Pseudomonas infection is caused by strains of bacteria found widely in the environment; the most common type causing infections in humans is called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Serious Pseudomonas infections usually occur in people with weakened immune systems. Infections can lead to severe illness and death in these people. Healthy people can also develop mild illnesses with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, especially after exposure to water.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Some people who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others.

Protozoa/Parasites: Primary Sewage Spill Biohazard

Parasites are also prevalent in category 3 water damage and can cause severe disease. Common parasites found in Sewage Spill include.

Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as “Crypto.” There are many species of Cryptosporidium that infect 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 tolerant to chlorine disinfection.

Entamoeba histolytica is the species of Entamoeba known to cause disease in humans. Transmission of the infection occurs via ingestion of cysts in contaminated food or water. Entamoeba histolytica is the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality due to parasitic disease in humans and is estimated to be responsible for between 50,000 and 100,000 deaths every year.

Giardia is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal illness known as giardiasis. Giardia is found on surfaces or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals.

Examples include round worms and tapeworms. Such parasites possess elaborate attachment systems with which they can anchor to the intestines and absorb nutrients from the host. The result can include tissue damage and malnutrition.

Property Recovery 911 offers residential as well as commercial sewage spill decontamination and Category 3 water damage clean up services. In the event of such a crisis, immediately evacuate the area and contact us to safely and professionally restore the site to pre-loss condition. Our specialists are on call 24/7 and can be on location within 1 hour to quickly and professionally resolve the issue.

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