Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia | High Sierra Topix  

Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby rlown » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:53 pm

I really want to request this thread get locked unless someone comes up with a reason not to..


Russ



User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5328
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby Colter » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:56 pm

Thanks to both gdurkee and longri for talking science, even though we might disagree

I really appreciate you mentioning Bruce Bindner. His point on chlorination at the time of the original paper is key. Glad he recovered quickly. I got sick as a dog each time but each time made a rapid recovery after treatment.

longri, you said
Colter wrote:...an overwhelming amount of scientific data.

Colter, that statement is clearly a gross exaggeration. If anything can be agreed upon it is that there is a dearth of solid data on this subject.

Here's what I said in context: Rockwell says "One conclusion of this paper is that you can indeed contract giardiasis on visits to the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada, but it almost certainly won’t be from the water. So drink freely and confidently." I personally don't think that's a defensible statement based on my personal experience AND an overwhelming amount of scientific data.

Freely means Without restriction Remember the Derlet quote after spending 10 years studying water in the Sierra. What he has learned, after analyzing hundreds of samples dipped from backcountry lakes and streams, is that parts of the high Sierra are not nearly as pristine as they look. It has in fact been scientifically established that drinking untreated mountain water is an important cause of endemic infection. and that the infectious dose is low and that giardia is found in about 1/3 of tested water sources in the Sierra at the time his report was written. I think most experts in the field would say that the evidence is overwhelming in the sense that I intended, that his statement is indefensible as written.

Somewhere I've got a statement bookmarked where an exasperated backpacking CDC statistician was responding to someone who was saying "we just don't have enough data to know if there truly is risk from drinking untreated water." To paraphrase he was saying they DID know. They've got the stats to know that the risk is significant. That's why the say Do not swallow water while swimming in swimming pools, spas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, streams, or the ocean.
User avatar
Colter
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:09 pm
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby rlown » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:59 pm

Colter.. what do you desire from this thread? are we done?
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5328
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby gdurkee » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:00 pm

gdurkee wrote:Wait, wait, wait there Dr. Science

It seems like that would qualify as snide. What do you think?


Que non, Monsouir! Merely a reference to the beloved Ask Dr. Science!

And with that, I retire from the field.

"Lone for an end!" cried Knight to steed,
Loosed an eager rein--
Charged with his challenge into space:
And quiet did quiet remain.
--Walter De La Mare


g.
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:20 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby Colter » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:06 pm

rlown wrote:I really want to request this thread get locked unless someone comes up with a reason not to..
Russ

Why do you feel it's so important to shut down a thread that is relative to the high Sierra, a thread in which others want to participate, and a thread that is purely optional to read? You were trying to stop it from the beginning.
User avatar
Colter
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:09 pm
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby rlown » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:12 pm

well.. we have at least 4 threads on water treatment. and they haven't been tickled for a while. Is that a good start?

we read the thread.. but does it mesh into the overall site knowledge.. no. unless it's merged by admin or otherwise.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5328
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:29 pm

I have to seriously doubt that several backpackers come in a week in Mammoth with Giardia. It takes allot longer than most people spend on a single trip to take effect. Also that level of infection would prompt serious investigation into the problem.
User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1666
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby Colter » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:53 pm

RoguePhotonic wrote:I have to seriously doubt that several backpackers come in a week in Mammoth with Giardia. It takes allot longer than most people spend on a single trip to take effect. Also that level of infection would prompt serious investigation into the problem.

Why would a Dr. publicly go on record and say it if it wasn't true? Not only that, but I was one of those patients and I know of several other people who were, also. It's one of the most "popular" places for PCT hikers to get treated for giardia, and they, as often as not, get sick in the middle of nowhere.

Also, those cases wouldn't be investigated unless it was an outbreak: A disease outbreak is the occurrence of cases of disease in excess of what would normally be expected in a defined community, geographical area or season. Giardia is common, it happens every year, so a few backpackers a week wouldn't be an outbreak. Plus, giardia usually isn't reported at all. In that quoted physician's county (Modoc) no cases were OFFICIALLY reported in 2008-2010. Including my case.
User avatar
Colter
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:09 pm
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby rlown » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:02 pm

ok.. everyone.. just let colter answer the question.. what do you want from this thread?
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5328
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby sparky » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:19 pm

Just because people get giardia doesn't mean they got it from their drinking water.

If 1/3 of samples from sierra water have giardia than I am obviously immune. Yay! :rolleyes:

This is getting silly
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
User avatar
sparky
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 880
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:01 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby Colter » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:51 pm

rlown wrote:ok.. everyone.. just let colter answer the question.. what do you want from this thread?

In 2010 I switched from treating water to not treating water, specifically because of the Rockwell paper. I got giardia within a few weeks in the High Sierra. I was so sick it took me much of a day to make it four miles back to a road. When I got back I looked at the Rockwell paper and found out that the science was riddled with huge flaws. I also found out there were lots of other hikers reporting getting giardia in the Sierras.

I've likely read every thread on the topic in this forum and most of the threads from the past few years on most of the other backpacking forums as well. I started chasing down peer reviewed papers and looking at all manner of studies and surveys. I ordered a book on giardia and was just talking to water treatment experts in California today.

Despite what you might think I have learned a lot and there are other people who are interested in something beyond the usual exchange of anecdotes and opinion. It's an interest of mine and I think it can help other people make more rational risk assessments. This forum seemed like one of the very best places to discuss it. Perhaps I was wrong.

Sparky, you are absolutely correct that not everyone who gets giardia during/after backpacking got it from drinking water, but many of them have, no doubt about it. You might well be more or less immune, or just lucky to this point. Even in verified waterborne giardia epidemics large numbers of people are asymptomatic.

As I've said before, it's rational to not treat, or treat, if you've looked at the best information and made a reasonable risk assessment. I'm not trying to force my risk assessment onto anyone else.
User avatar
Colter
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:09 pm
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Why Rockwell is Wrong about Giardia

Postby ERIC » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:56 pm

I'll allow this to go on for a little longer. Keep the topic civil, and it stays open as long as new information is presented. Same arguments over and over again gets locked on grounds of being unproductive.

I encourage you all to be polite in your arguments, yet thick-skinned enough to recognize respectful jabs. Don't take things too seriously. :p
New members, please consider giving us an intro!
Follow us on Twitter @HighSierraTopix. Use hashtags #SIERRAPHILE #GotSierra? #GotMountains?
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HighSierraTopix
User avatar
ERIC
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
Your Humble Host & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2909
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:13 am
Location: between the 916 and 661
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

PreviousNext

Return to The Campfire



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests