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Thames Rowing Team issues health warning over E. coli levels

jump in london thames The Regatta is a nearly 200-year-old rowing competition between the prestigious British universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and is a customary celebration of the winning crew.

Now it comes with a health warning.

Tests by River Action have found high levels of E. coli along a stretch of the Thames in south-west London that will be used for Saturday’s historic match.

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E. coli normally lives in the human intestine healthy person According to the Mayo Clinic, most strains are harmless, cause relatively brief diarrhea, and most people recover without incident. However, small doses of certain strains, including a sip of contaminated water, can cause a range of illnesses, including urinary tract infections. Tract infections, cystitis, intestinal infections and vomiting, and in the most severe cases, life-threatening blood poisoning.

Teams from both participating universities have received a briefing pack issued by organizations such as River Action, which contains guidance on the importance of covering cuts, scrapes and blisters with waterproof dressings and taking care not to swallow splashes in the mouth Be on the river, wear appropriate footwear when launching or retrieving a boat, and clean all equipment thoroughly.

In a statement to the Guardian, organizers said they supported Operation River’s research, adding that precautions for this year’s race include “emphasis on the risks of entering the water” and the use of “cleaning stations at the finish.” area.”

The Cambridge men’s team pass under Hammersmith Bridge during training on the River Thames in London. Testing by Rivers Action found high levels of E. coli along the banks of the Thames that will be used in the competition. (John Walton/PA, AP)

The inter-university competition was first held in 1829 and is one of the oldest university competitions oldest sporting event Worldwide, the 4.2-mile stretch of the Thames usually attracts 270,000 spectators.

River Action said it carried out 16 tests around Hammersmith Bridge on the Thames from February 28 to March 26 using a World Health Organization-validated E. coli analyzer.

The organization said test results showed an average of 2,863 E. coli colony-forming units (CFU) per 100 milliliters of water, with the highest recorded peak of 9,801 CFU.

River Action said it was unsafe to swim in inland waters with a bacterial concentration of 1,000 or more, according to the Environment Agency.

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The team did not reveal which of the many strains of E. coli it found.

“As a rower, the waters I row on are my racing venues, and the E. coli test results show that rowers are risking their health to do the sport they love,” said world rowing champion Imogen. Imogen Grant won the rowing race three times with Cambridge University. “More needs to be done to improve our level Water quality conditions across the country, such testing gives us an idea of ​​how far we still have to go. “

River Action said testing at the site showed the source of the contamination came from utility company Thames Water, which discharges sewage directly into the river and its tributaries. Thames Water said improving river health was one of its priorities and was working hard to reduce unnecessary discharges. Discharge.

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