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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Dozens of schoolchildren may have been exposed to bacteria after school water fountains broke

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Staff and students at five elementary schools in the Denver area were exposed to dozens of cases of waterborne bacteria after some of their water fountains or drinking fountains broke over the past month.

Employees at least 56 people were at risk after the fountains at Bridgeway Montessori and Cabrillo Elementary in Aurora, Peppercorn Elementary and The New School in Wheat Ridge, and Willow Creek Elementary in Westminster tested positive for the human pathogens enterococcus and staphylococcus, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Twenty-six of the 56 people were tested as part of the state’s investigations, officials said, because state officials weren’t able to confirm if they had potentially been infected, or how many people have already been affected. State officials are still working to determine how many schools, staff, students and/or parents are at risk.

The state announced last week that they had received six more cases of Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria responsible for getting up to 97 percent of the bacteria from the endoscopes used for colonoscopies and fecal testing.

An individual can contract the infection from an infected toilet seat, water fountain or water bottle, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends that people not flush their pipes until they’ve flushed the water by eight feet and that they shouldn’t drink tap water until they’ve been instructed not to drink water from fountain until they have washed their hands after using the water fountain.

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