Salmonella, rotavirus found in 11 Kewaunee County wells
Eleven private wells in Kewaunee County that were being tested as part of a DNR-funded study showed the presence of salmonella and/or rotavirus, the Department of Natural Resources announced late Monday.
Property owners have been notified of the findings, which are typically associated with fecal contamination, said James Dick, spokesperson for the DNR. In addition, the Kewaunee County Health Department Tuesday was mailing letters to all property owners with private wells within a half-mile of each of the contaminated wells, according to Cynthia Kinnard, Kewaunee County public health nurse.
“The wells are all over the county – all the way from Lincoln to Kewaunee to Carlton,” she said.
The samples were taken April 18, according to Mark Borchardt of the USDA Agricultural Service, who is conducting tests as part of a larger DNR study of the county’s wells. The 11 wells were among 30 that were randomly selected from 110 wells that were found to be contaminated in samples taken last November, Borchardt said.
Four of the wells tested positive for only salmonella, six tested positive for only rotavirus and one well tested positive for both salmonella and rotavirus, according to Borchardt.
Both salmonella and rotavirus live in the intestinal tracts of animals, birds and people. People infected with salmonella generally develop symptoms of diarrhea abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and fever. Rotavirus causes severe vomiting and diarrhea.
No illnesses have been reported in connection with the findings, according to the DNR.
Borchardt said that he was surprised when he found the presence of salmonella and rotavirus in the samples and notified the DNR Monday. He said that he had not seen rotavirus in any of the previous samples he has taken from Kewaunee County wells. He said that further testing was being completed on the 11 wells to determine if the source of the contamination could be identified.
The exact location of the contaminated wells cannot be disclosed under the terms of the well study, which provides confidentiality to property owners who agreed to participate, Borchardt said.
Kinnard said that any county resident who receives a letter indicating they are located within a half-mile of a contaminated well can call the health department for a free well test, which will be funded by the DNR. She said that the tests would be available beginning May 6. The phone number is 920-388-7160.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Salmonella, rotavirus found in 11 Kewaunee County wells