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Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 14:54 UK
Parents struggle with water bug
By Maddy Savage
Newsbeat reporter in Northamptonshire

Home water delivery

Parents in Northamptonshire have told Newsbeat they're struggling to cope after a bug got into the water system there.

Hundreds of children are off school. People are being advised to boil everything they drink or buy it bottled.

25-year-old Candice is out shopping with friends and her little boy Joel, whose nursery is closed while the water supply problems continue. She's a childminder.

"I am lucky enough to be able to bring him with me to work, but lots of people don't have that option," she says.

I am sure the little bottles were 80p a few days ago and in some shops they are charging 1.20 today
29-year-old Tom from Northampton
"I can't believe better precautions weren't taken to prepare for something like this.

"Schools shouldn't be closing, they should all have enough clean water for the kids.

"And as for parents, well not everybody can afford to buy bottled water. It sounds stupid but it's true."

The parasite that's got into the water is called Cryptosporidium and can cause stomach upsets and fevers.

So far nobody has become ill though.

Anglian Water is delivering water to schools, nurseries and care homes.

But some decided to close because they didn't have enough supplies to keep going until the next batch arrived.

Sell out

At least two large superstores in Northampton have sold out of bottled water.

"It is getting more expensive now, too", says 29-year-old Tom, who works in the town centre.

"I am sure the little bottles were 80p a few days ago and in some shops they are charging 1.20 today."

There has also been panic buying 15 miles away in Kettering.

Supplies aren't affected there but some people got sent warning letters by mistake.

Medical tips

Boiling the contaminated water is a cheaper option.

It is completely safe to drink afterwards.

Pitsford water sign
Experts are trying to identify how the parasite got into the supply
Daniel Clifton, 21, has a one-year-old called Louis.

He says: "We're trying to get him off the milk and to drink more juice, but having to boil the water every time is such a palaver.

"He is a bit cranky when he doesn't get his bottle."

An Anglian Water spokeswoman said: "Scientists are working around the clock to find the source of the problem and are investigating, in minute detail, the Pitsford water treatment works."

Bogus caller alert

Northamptonshire Police are warning people in areas affected by the problems not to open their doors to people claiming to be from the water board.

There have been reports of distraction burglaries by hoax callers.

"I just can't believe this sort of stuff can happen today," says Candice.

"Everything was just fine last week and now we've got so many problems to deal with."



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