Hey it’s Mike here and today it’s STORY TIME! I’m doing something a little bit different today As many of you know I’m studying a masters in Public Health and in a recent class there’s a really interesting really massive story of 400,000 people getting infected came up and so let’s, let’s just jump right into it. ~To set the scene~ The year is 1993 It’s springtime, In Milwaukee Wisconsin And everything appears to be normal… With the exception of some extra rainfall. Milwaukee Woman: “Just another day is beautiful Wisconsin!” “HUNTER WHERE ARE YOU” “ARE YOU DOING THAT THING TO YOUR BEANIE BABIES AGAIN!” “I TOLD YOU THEY DON’T REPRODUCE LIKE THAT!” “Oh my, I have a tummy ache!” Hunter: “Hey maam! I just pooped my own body weight!” Milwaukee Woman: *shocked and confused* “Oahh!” It had begun. Over the next couple weeks, According to this study, Some people would poop as much as 90 times in a single day! Alright..for most people it was closer to 12… As thousands, TENS of thousands as people started exhibiting symptoms And going into the doctor A lot of doctors misdiagnosed this mysterious illness as the flu without further investigation And from this study of almost 300 people it was diarrhea and cramps for almost everyone who was infected and vomiting and fever for about half of those infected Don’t worry, this whole video isn’t going to be gross It’s not all gonna be about diarrhea *only 93% about diarrhea* At this point we need to appreciate the widespread level of mystery and panic that must have occurred as now HUNDREDS of thousands of people were falling ill. Alright let’s investigate this mystery a little bit further On March 21, Milwaukee’s southern water treatment plant’s records showed an increase in turbidity, which is the cloudiness of water and by March 23, it had reached UNPRECEDENTED levels of turbidity It took them over two weeks after the initial turbidity increase to finally close that southern water plant and switch the entire city over to the northern water plant’s uncontaminated water supply At that point the mayor also issued a “boil your water!” order as you can see by the timeline here it was already too late, everybody had already pooped their brains out 🙁 by this time it had already become the largest waterborn outbreak in U.S history costing $90 million which is now like 4 quadrillion dollars counting inflation No, its more like $120 million with inflation And as the title suggested, infected 400,000 people which was half of the 800,000 people on the southern water supply So what was the illness that was actually making everyone sick? Well it was Cryptosporidium, particularly Cryptosporidium parvum which is a strain that infects a variety of mammals Cryptosporidium is a water born protozoa basically a microscopic wormlike animal and it’s really important to note that it is highly chlorine resistant when it’s in its oocyst form when it’s in it’s dormant form, kinda like a little egg and thats how it spreads from one animal to another they oocysts are pooped out of the original victim and then they have to make it to the mouth and past the mouth of their next victim where they enter the stomach and the stomach acid actually wears away the shell of that oocyst and lets these creepy little worm like creatures escape into your digestive tract and then it’s PARTY TIME Back to this study, while most infected people seemed to have diarrhea for about 3 days there was some unfortunate soul that had 38 days of diarrhea Milwaukee woman: “Day 35, I ran out of books to read on the toilet,” “so I started a journal.” “It’s nice to journal.” “I like journaling because, in Wisconsin,…” In water treatment, coagulation is a common method to remove oocysts and that was the method they used in the southern water treatment essentially you have a compound that binds with the organic matter in the water for example, poop, with is harboring some oocysts and then it leads them to settle at the bottom, purifying the water overall a little bit with the mechanisms used to determine how much coagulant to put in as well as a lack of turbidity alarms the southern water plant clearly failed to remove the oocysts. In addition it took them so long to figure out what was going on because because at the time sampling for Cryptosporidium was difficult, lengthy, and was not standardized. They of course did confirm that it was Cryptosporidium after taking a sample of water, freezing it into an ice core, and then sending it off to a lab. Now for the most important question here: How had a relatively modern water treatment plant been totally compromised? What was the original source of the pathogen? We’re gonna look at the likelihood of all 3 of those, starting with the slaughterhouse because the blame quickly landed on the Peck Meat Packing plant which was the largest slaughterhouse in Milwaukee with 800 employees From this local article Quote: Here’s a map of Milwaukee the Peck Plant eventually became cargo which you can read there the slaugherhouse was likely dumping in the river hErE and it of course went all the way down the river and came out in the south coast of Milwaukee in Lake Michigan where the intake to the southern plant is But there’s another very possible point of origin, and that is the Milwaukee Stockyards which were right across the river though it really is two sides of the same coin This article eight years prior to the whole ordeal brags by saying Quote: Why is this important? because Cryptosporidium appears to most violently be spread by calves One study found that as high as 90% of calves tested positive for Cryptosporidium A statistic cited by dairy farmers as well, not just some..fringe..anti-veal statistic. That 90% goes down to 20% in adult bovines But let’s throw out a most conservative figure which is still pretty impressive and that is from this study That in 1993, when this happened, 30% of U.S beef calves whatever you wanna call them, some just call them babies… were infected. It also appears that these stockyards did not have any type of manure management system or anything vaguely like that From the Environmental Policy Paradox, Among those to blame was the stockyard, which was illegally dumping waste. Now we have to get a bird’s eye view here because the stockyards were 13 acres right near downtown, right on the river, and that big bout of spring rain could perfectly act as a flush to flush out all of that calf Crypto poop into the river then into Lake Michigan to enter the water supply And from this study Quote: And if the actual point of origin wasn’t the stockyards in particular, Well, were do you think all of those baby cows ended up going? to Peck Meat packing plant, at least a lot of them from this article And when an animal is slaughtered, all of the waste in their digestive tract has to go somewhere this is why a variety of meats are notorious for containing fecal matter I don’t know why people don’t talk about that more often.. Some of the ~people of Milwaukee~ banded together and actually sued the Peck Meat Packing plant and they settled, although they said it wasn’t their fault they were just doing it because the legal costs were getting too expensive.. Back to the stockyards though, One really interesting fact, after being there for 120 years, the stockyards moved their location the year after the outbreak Did they know about something we didn’t? Maybe a lot of diarrhea building up, maybe a lot of manure that ended up getting flushed in at that point? Who knows??? Either way, they got the hell outta dodge ..but actually they ended up moving to Dodge County West.. that’s.. kind of awkward, but it definitely cleared them of any future liabilities! Though it’s never presented as the main culprit in any of the literature, we have to look at the possibility that the whole outbreak may have been caused from human waste contamination there a few points that make human waste much less likely of a culprit than animal waste, the first of which is that that human waste from Milwaukee would have needed to to contain enough of these oocysts to infect 400,000 people to have so many cysts that half the people that drank that water, got it because there was no previous Cryptosporidium outbreak it would be hard to believe that there would be enough humans to harbor that much Cryptosporidium to create that massive quantity of oocysts that would then enter the water system, not likely. By contrast, the stockyard saw 100,000 calves which are again, commonly infected and 300,000 total bovines in a year that’s a massive poop source. the human waste was also treated in a waste water treatment plant, and because the sewage system is constantly flowing yeah, a large influx of rain might clear out more of it, but it just isn’t an argument as to why that would be a massive increase And, another interesting point from this study, in 2003 And we’re not just talking about developing countries because of Cryptosporidium’s chlorine resistance, we’re also talking about developed nations So with all of this information combined, I think we can say with a pretty high level of certainty That this massive infection of 400,000 people was due to the farming, the selling, and possibly the killing of animals. At least all of those little innocent veal calves might have gotten a little bit of revenge. Although obviously not all 400,000 people deserved it In the end in fact 50 to 100 people, depending on the estimate actually passed away and those were mostly immunocompromised people, like people with AIDS. But at this point you might be thinking: “Mic, isn’t this actually the fault of the city? It’s the fault of the water treatment plant?” Video: “And it happened with a fully functional treatment process.” “Operating properly, and meeting all current regulatory standards.” Woman in Video: “They didn’t do anything wrong.” “They did the best with the tools that they had,” “and the expectations for water treatment at the time.” “They were conventional treatment plans. Tried and true.” “The format’s been used all over the country, all over Canada, all over the world.” “And it has worked well.” “But it didn’t work in this case.” Well, things actually did go wrong, But A.) the original source of it was the animal poop, and B.) how much poop are we expected to filter out? After all, from this government paper livestock alone in the U.S. poops 39 billion humans worth of solid waste. And, that’s a lot to deal with. We’re seeing massive costs being put into water treatment because of animal agriculture, like Like Des Moines in Iowa having to spend millions of dollars to filter out the nitrates from all the animal poop so people can drink the water. And naysayers might also be thinking: Naysayer: “Mic, that was 1993, that was in the past, this isn’t a concern AT ALL today!” N O P E WROOONG WRONGITY WRONG WRONG WRONGERSON Here’s a list of the top 10 food born pathogens and they are virtually all from animal products and the ones that aren’t exclusively from animal products are likely from foods with animal products because these are animal targeting pathogens that feed on animal flesh and so forth. they do not eat…oak.. ..and…leaves.. So while this Milwaukee thing was a great history lesson, we are dealing with MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of cases food born illness from farming and killing animals as well I mean look at the recent Romaine Recall, that wasn’t because of some ~Romaine Disease~ that we could also get, that was because their was animal poop contaminating it animal farming managed to briefly ruin LETTUCE definitely let me know what you think down below Was it the stockyards? Was it the slaughterhouse? Or am I wrong and it was human waste? Story time is over, I hope you never get Cryptosporidium Feel free to like, subscribe, hit that notification bell, and I will see you in the next video.