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Are there viruses in AZ stream water?

Posted: Apr 10 2002 2:15 pm
by slayte
Do any of you treat your filtered water for viruses before drinking? Have you ever heard reports of viral contamination around here? Since Pur has discontinued their iodized lines, I can't get filter elements for my Scout any more (looking at buying a Hiker).

I know water-borne viruses are very rare here in the US, but I don't know exactly HOW rare.

Thanks,
Ed

Posted: Jun 17 2002 10:11 pm
by jeremy77777
I lived in paraguay for a long time. I had the wonderful privelige to live way out in the sticks. Literally...stick houses built on the only high ground for miles. Y'all aint seen nasty water. I mean turbid. I drank some intensely disgusting water.( not to mention the food!!) I had worms and parasites and regular diarhea. but i survived. it wasnt that bad. Here in AZ there have been times when stranded that after two days without water i had to drink from a tiny, moss-filled, puddle in the supes that had a dead, decomposing vulture in it. no big deal. i didnt die. it was nothing compared to that paraguayan swamp water. be tough. sissies. :twisted:

Posted: Jun 17 2002 11:58 pm
by MaryPhyl
My brother in law (a pharmacist) has a theory about water. He thinks that if you drink every kind you can find you become immune to whatever. So.... he does and I have never seen him sick. I think one can be a carrier of bugs even if they do not make you sick so be careful where you poop. :oops:

Posted: Jun 18 2002 9:22 am
by jeremy77777
I must say, My brother wrote the last comment. Yeah, He did get sick alot but I don't think he had a chioce of drinking water while he was in S. America. I don't use a water purifier round these parts but I sure would there!

Posted: Jun 18 2002 1:30 pm
by BoyNhisDog
I talked to a fellow that works at a Popular store and he claims to have contracted Hepatitis by drinking filtered but not treated water in Arizona. He described the symtoms as very horrible. I guess everyone will have to decide for themselves on the risk and what they will ultimatly be willing to accept in the way of disease.

Posted: Jun 18 2002 2:13 pm
by olesma
Well spoken Glenn. The debate on to filter or not to filter realy just floats around that cetral point: How much does it matter to you? How much risk are you willing to take?

If you want to be extra careful and want to spend the time and effort in being careful - there are plenty of methods and resources to help you out.

If you aren't terribly concerned, then play the odds and take your risk. You may get sick, you may not.

For me, the sickness I experienced taught me that I would rather be careful. For others, they haven't had such a bad time of it. Everyone's physiology is slightly different, and each situation you go into is unique. Judge the risks based on your own knowledge and experience (in as honest a way as you can) and make your decision.

Hmmm...sounds a lot like every decision we make in life. How bout that?

Re:

Posted: Jun 12 2010 12:50 pm
by pencak
MaryPhyl wrote:My brother in law (a pharmacist) has a theory about water. He thinks that if you drink every kind you can find you become immune to whatever. So.... he does and I have never seen him sick. I think one can be a carrier of bugs even if they do not make you sick so be careful where you poop. :oops:
I traveled extensively in Nicaragua and caught bacterial and parasite infections as well as amoebic dysentery. Imagine yourself spending the night in 90 degree heat with 98% humidity while being ravaged by insects (helpless to swat them away because you are too weak.) You're sitting on a toilet, wracked in pain, with a bucket in front of you. You are shivering uncontrollably and sweating profusely from a high fever. You're in this position the whole night because you can't sleep. Why can't you sleep? Well, every few minutes you have violent diarrhea and dry heaves at the same time. This is what water borne gastric infections will give you. The onset of this stuff is very rapid and if you're in the middle of the mountains someplace by yourself, you just might die of dehydration for all the liquid will be coming out of your body from both ends. Your head will be reeling and if you don't die, you'll wish you did.

This is no laughing matter. Down in Central America, where this is common, you check yourself into a hospital within the first 12hrs and they test your stool (or whatever godawful liquid is coming out of you) for either a bacteria or parasite and treat accordingly. If it's a virus you're shafted and probably now have hepatitis for the rest of your life or will weather a storm of suffering for 7 days or so (or die if it's something exotic.) Even better, is a gastric bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics which will remain in your gut so you will have the joy of dealing with that for the rest of your life. Standard operating procedure in those hospitals is to put you on a I.V. immediately because of dehydration.

Now-a-days, drinking untreated water is foolhardy at best and insane at worst. I don't care where the water is coming from.

My kit:
MSR Miniworks EX Water Filter
MSR MIOX Water purifier (to chemically treat for virus' after mechanical filtering in the Miniworks)

I recently got the Steripen and It is a big disappointment. I got it to work a couple of times in testing but can't get it to work. It's an unreliable piece of junk that I would not stake my life on. I got it because I gave my MIOX to a friend down in Nicaragua who travels to the jungles in the East of the country. Oh yeah, you can get Malaria from the water there. That MIOX thing is excellent. It creates a powerful oxidizer (probably chlorine) from rock salt. Works like a charm and it's faster than the Steripen.
See it here:
( dead link removed )

Re: Are there viruses in AZ stream water?

Posted: Jul 10 2010 10:07 pm
by Ckzona
It really depends on where you are. If i am at a rather known spring or creek i would treat it. But if i see a spring shootin out clear water and is off trail i would drink it and have many times before.

Re: Are there viruses in AZ stream water?

Posted: Jul 11 2010 4:11 am
by azbackpackr
I have, too, but of late I have tended to be more careful. In the long run, in addition to hepatitis, you can get Crohn's disease, a permanent medical condition. No thank you!

Re: Are there viruses in AZ stream water?

Posted: Feb 12 2013 1:20 pm
by azfatboy
I grew up just drinking from the stream/lake/whatever, and I had the same run of good luck. And in recent years, I had mostly done only car camping, where I brought all my own water. But then I started backpacking with my family last year, and I never even considered drinking unfiltered water.

I primarily use the Katadyn Vario which has worked great so far. We "tested" the iodine drops (yech!) and the Katadyn Micropur tablets (better, but EXPENSIVE), but now I just carry the latter as a backup (since they supposedly get rid of all the viruses as well).

I also carry a Steripen, but only used it a few times. I like the idea of it, but it has also been relegated to backup status.

As much as I like the Vario, it is kind of bulky, and the filtration is only down to .3 microns. So I recently acquired a couple of the Sawyer point one products. They are much smaller, last for a million gallons, and filter down to .1 microns. Hope to use them soon.

Re: Are there viruses in AZ stream water?

Posted: Feb 12 2013 3:43 pm
by PaleoRob
Viruses exist virtually everywhere. The main human pathogens in Arizona water are going to be unicellular organisms (both prokaryotic and eukaryotic), though. Some prokaryotes can get down to the size of large viruses but I would think that either a .1 or .3 micron filter would be sufficent. I've been using a katadyn filter recently with no issues. Before that it was the good ol' iodine plus flavor neutralizer.

Re:

Posted: Feb 12 2013 8:53 pm
by pops c
Lizard wrote:
Sounds good, is there some scientific proof that it kills Cryptosporidium? That seems to be the only weak point to many of the chemical treatments.
Chlorine dioxide is one of the more effective treatments for crypto known. It is used to treat many municipal water supplies. Here is a link to a study about its effectiveness:

(dead link removed)

Lizard, Link did not open do you have any other info?

Thanks

Re: Are there viruses in AZ stream water?

Posted: Feb 12 2013 9:07 pm
by joebartels
there's some info on wiki halfway down this page (Water chlorination) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine_dioxide