Somebody poisoned the waterhole! (Q for Otto)

4:47 a.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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In previous threads on water treatment I think both Otto and I have noted that in Norway we never filter or treat our water. But in the June issue of Fjell og Vidde there's an advisory to boil drinking water. The reason? Dead lemmings! Lemmings carry tularemia, and apparently it can get from lemming corpses into the water (not clear whether they have to be actually in the water or just nearby). 

But lemmings come and go -- we had a peak year a few years back and I don't recall seeing any warnings at the huts, etc. (But I have a hilarious video of my dog being  faced down by a vicious lemming). Otto -- is this really something to be concerned about in your (much longer) experience?

12:11 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Tularemia sounds like a royal pain. The only good thing is that it is rarely lethal. It says that only 10-50 bacterium are needed to infect. If you hear of reports of it I would would filter my water and possibly use a Steripen after because it is highly infective. 

1:47 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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probably worth treating before people, other people here about it,,,, being you that is sick.

5:29 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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So is it Norway where the story comes from about Lemming's when sensing over population will mass kill themsselves off by running off a cliff or something. I heard something about that as a child in school 45 years ago.

6:49 p.m. on August 22, 2011 (EDT)
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There has been lemmings years from the wiking age up till now. I remember years with millions of them, but we never bothered about it. True there has been some debate here in Norway about filtering or boiling the water. Filtering takes time and does not guarantee bug-free water. Boiling takes time and fuel, and is cumbersome. But a cemical solution was mentioned that I thought was ok. Just get some ordinary clorine (for disinfecting the kithen towel) and use 1ml of this per liter water. This is said to clean the water of dangerous bacterias, and water will not taste clorine at all.

I have been picking berries and walking in the mountains now, and I drank water from large brooks/rivers or lakes without problem. The water has been debate in Sweden as well, but the swedes drink water from even small brooks like before. If there had been some sickness the news would have travelled like fire in dry grass. Even the german site that I follow have had some concern, but it has all calmed down there also. Too many calming reports that even though people had seen a lot of lemmings noone had got sick in spite of them taking no precautions.

On one trip my dog actually ate at least 5 lemmings, that was the amount I saw, there may have been others.

So to conclude: You may safely return to this country and behave like you always have regarding water. And I believe you are looking forward to not bothering about track fees, compulsory campsites, bear secure food boxes, aso. Not to mention the many cosy huts that are here. We have the hikers heaven, but dont tell anyone, they might get envious. ;)

5:11 a.m. on August 23, 2011 (EDT)
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OttoStover said:

So to conclude: You may safely return to this country and behave like you always have regarding water. And I believe you are looking forward to not bothering about track fees, compulsory campsites, bear secure food boxes, aso. Not to mention the many cosy huts that are here. We have the hikers heaven, but dont tell anyone, they might get envious. ;)

 You got it! I am back and Trondheim, and looking forward to some mountain time, perhaps Storsylen soon...

I think it's still worth asking if the tularemia is something new. That may be something that could have changed recently. I think some of the reports/advisories are based an a high incidence of the disease in rabbits. I'm really inclined not to worry about it, and some of the advisories say it's OK to take water from the big streams and lakes, just watch out for the little beck with dead lemmings in it! I'm mostly just curious about how many people are taking this seriously. I guess the lemmenår is just about over anyway...

9:15 a.m. on August 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the reports, BigRed and Otto.  I won't be able to go trekking in Norway any time soon, but I really like reading and knwing about subjects concerning other regions, especially those I want to visit someday :)

It is great having people from different regions and conrtries here on Trailspace.

6:32 p.m. on August 24, 2011 (EDT)
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The fuss about the water started early this spring. Then there was a number of reports of people with stomac trouble that was perhaps connected to the water quality. In hindsight it is confirmed that more than half of the cases (some say 2/3) were from wells that had no protection from rodents. It was hut owners that had used the stale old infected water in private huts.

Since we have a lot of both domestic and wild animals in the mountains, it is not unusual that one of these dies. Most of the body is eaten by big and small predators, but some may infect the nearest brook for some hundred metres or so. But large brooks and big lakes have too much water to be infected in a way that may cause problems.

Welcome back to Norway BigRed and you are also welcome gonzan, when you decide to take such a long trip. Both BigRed and myself will find a tour that I am sure you will like.

Otto

6:53 p.m. on August 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks, Otto, I hope I can have the opportunity sometime! 

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